Kenny Smith

NBA finals Lakers Celtics: Putting Ray Allen's dismal night in context

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Rallen_sad.jpg0-13 from the field, 0-8 from the three point line.

Whew. There’s really no way of getting around that. That’s a pretty terrible performance. It’s so bad, it deserves some cliches. Here are a few for you to use around the office today! “Ray Allen couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat!” “Ray Allen couldn’t hit a barn door with a twelve gauge!” “Ray Allen couldn’t make a bucket welding torch, fifty tons of sheet metal and a class A welding instructor!”

Okay, the last one’s not really a cliche, but if you use it they’ll never know. The point is, Allen’s 0-fer last night was the kind of shooting night that gives pure shooters like Allen nightmares. The rim just not cooperating. The Lakers’ defense also stepped up big times, interrupting passing lanes and forcing Allen further and further into the corner like he was that kid at the end of “The Blair Witch Project.”

But how bad was Allen’s night in comparison to the other NBA Finals players to knock down seven or more threes in a game? Not really all that terrible. Want to know how non-terrible it was?

There were three players to have hit seven threes in a Finals game going into Sunday night. Scottie Pippen with the Bulls against Utah in Game 3 of the ’97 series, Kenny Smith in Game 1 of the ’95 series, and Ray Allen in the deciding Game 6 of the 2008 series. Obviously Allen now leads the pack with 8 in Game 2 which was then followed by last night’s disaster. So I decided to take a look at how those shooters did in the games following those impressive performances. Obviously, Allen closed out the series with 7 3’s in 08, so he didn’t hit any threes in the next game as there was no game. But the other two?

Smith played just 19 minutes in Game 2, going 0-2 from the field and 0-1 from the arc on his way to 2 points. And Pippen? Though he went 7 for 16 from the field, he only went 1 for 4 from the arc in Game 4.

So in four players to hit 7 or more threes in a Finals game, they have a combined 1 three pointer after doing so… between them.

But wait! There’s more! Smith went on to shoot a combined 1 for 9 through the final three games of the Rockets’ sweep. Pippen went on to shoot 2 of 11 in the remainder of the Bulls’ six game win to close out the Jordan era.

So right now, factoring every game for a player after he hit seven or more three pointers from the field in a Finals game, those players are a combined 3 for 28 from the three point line.

3/33. .11% from three point range through seven games. Obviously, Allen’s closing performance in 08 puts a skew on things. But that’s still a stunning number. And while it’s simply a statistical anomaly in the grand scheme of things (don’t get us started on the hot hand debate), it’s something at the very least trivia worthy to track as the series goes on. It’s also worth mentioning that Allen’s 0-8 from downtown was by far the worst performance of any of those players. In the world of downtown, he was the hobo slinging his ’40 all over the sidewalk making people uncomfortable. But at least he’s got company to a certain degree, historically.

Oh, and one more thing. With all that terrible shooting in those subsequent games? The player who hit 7 or more in a game won all three series.