Ray Allen has been in the past, and still is this year, but a shadow to the other 2 parts of the Big 3. Even though he hides in the background, he still receives great criticism for the game he plays. To begin this season there was alot of talk early on that he was not performing the way he should. All of this talk was justified by his low percentage shooting 3′s, and the slippage in his defensive game. What has happened since then, and was witnessed last night, is his return to being exactly the player he always has been.
Celtics Blog’s Jeff Clark created a post yesterday titled “Nope, It Is Still Not Time To Trade Ray Allen“. In this post he explains why Ray is very valuable to this Celtics team, but at the same time why it may be an intruiging deal for the team to trade him off. From a personal perspective, the team needs to keep him. Who is going to hit that cold blooded shot as time expires in an all important game 2 in round 1 of the playoffs? Or, who is going to hit all of those countless shots through the fourth quarters to lead the Celtics charge back, or to hit a dagger to put the game out of reach? We don’t have that, and Ray Allen is that, regardless to how he shoots throughout the rest of the game.
Last nights game against the Heat was no exception to this rule. Late in the game, the Celtics were desperate for any kind of offense. At 4:23 in the fourth, the Celtics were down 91-85 and just could not seem to get over the hump of being down less than 5. That all changed when Sugar Ray hit a three and cut the defecit to 3. Then at 53 seconds, the C’s were up 1, until Ray hit yet another to put the team up 4. When it matters the most, Ray hits his shots and there is no one in this world better at it. He has been, is, and will be so long as he is a member of the green team, our absolute clutch shooter. If the team gets him the ball for the game winner and he gets any kind of look at all and misses, atleast you can turn off your tv and feel confident saying, “Well thats the best chance we had at winning”. I can’t count on my 2 hands how many games the team would have lost had it not been for his late game shooting.
As of late, Ray has been getting his numbers back up to a more normal level for him. In last nights game he went 3-4 from 3 and ended with 22 points. At 16.5 ppg this year, he is a little behind where he was in the 07-08 season. If you factor in age, only being 1 point less per game 2 years later is not a bad thing. (I don’t count last years season because he had to play a lot more and had a much larger role with KG being out) The only arguement against him that I can see is defensively. His shooting will come around- I dont question that. Therefore, coming down the stretch I can see him being just as big of an asset as he has ever been.
To vote on whether or not you believe Ray Allen has improved his game to an amount that impresses you: VOTE HERE
(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)