Allen simply reloads
I knew Ray Allen was going to come out of it. I mean, this guy is really dedicated.
You heard about Ray, right? Just eight hours after missing all 13 of his shots in Game 3, there was a sighting of Allen jacking up threes at HealthPoint in Waltham at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Ray denied the report, but we wonder. This is Ray Allen, the man of one million jumpers.
Think Spike Lee chose Ray Allen to play Jesus Shuttlesworth in “He Got Game’’ because of Allen’s good looks? Think again. Ray is the shooter’s shooter. He’s always practicing his jump shot. When Sports Illustrated polled 90 NBA players (in 2009), asking them to name the best pure shooter they’d ever seen, Ray was the winner with 26 percent of the vote. Reggie Miller was second with 10 percent.
It was, therefore, no surprise when I saw Ray shooting buckets at the Oak Square YMCA at 6 a.m. yesterday. Ray wasn’t going to get lazy after his 0-for-13 night in Game 3. That’s just not him.
Only two guys ever had a worse shooting game in the Finals. The immortal Chick Reiser went 0 for 14 for Baltimore against Philadelphia in 1948. Chick wasn’t much of a shooter in the first place. A 5-foot-11-inch guard out of NYU, he averaged 10 points a game and never shot higher than 34 percent.
We know all about the other guy. Playing for Seattle, Dennis Johnson went 0 for 14 in a Game 7 loss to the Washington Bullets in 1978. One year later, DJ was MVP of the Finals. He eventually came to Boston, where he won two championships and established himself as one of the great clutch players in Celtic lore.
DJ and Chick didn’t make their names as NBA snipers. They could shrug off a playoff doughnut. Ray makes his living shooting from the perimeter. That’s why he was practicing at the Tobin Gym at noontime yesterday.
After leaving the Tobin, Ray was spotted shooting at the Parker Hill Avenue Playground, then at the Shelburne Center in Roxbury. Then he went to Walsh Park in Dorchester, then to Fallon Field in West Roxbury. From there, it was off to Noyes Playground in Eastie and Rogers Park in Brighton.
Ray needed to try out all the rims in the city. He was simply not going to go 0 for 13 in Game 4.
Actually, I made all of that up. Ray takes a lot of pride in his shooting. But he doesn’t need to go all over town to break out of a one-game slump. He has his routine.
The routine goes like this: Ray gets to the Garden more than four hours before game time. Then he goes out on the parquet floor and shoots for a half-hour — accompanied only by a few ball boys.
Larry Bird used to have a routine like this. He’d go into the dark Garden late in the afternoon and shoot by himself. Equipment guy Joe Qatato would rebound. Larry liked Joe Q so much he took him to the Indiana with him when he became coach of the Pacers. After taking his shots, Larry would run laps in the old Garden walkway above the first section of seats in the lower bowl.
Ray had a lot of company when he came out to shoot yesterday afternoon at 5:45. Several television cameras recorded his workout.
Ray started with some post-up shots, right under the basket. Then he took 10 free throws (he made them all, but I think two drew iron). Then he took five middle-range jumpers from five spots around the perimeter. Left to right. Five from the corner, five from the left of the key, five from the top of the key, five from the right of the key, then five from the right corner.
Then it was back to the free throw line. Then he went beyond the 3-point arc and repeated the previous drill. Then he ran up and down the left sideline. Then he started taking jumpers in motion.
The Celtic Dancers were on the court for the entire routine. They always are. The Dancers move only when Ray needs the space where they are practicing.
“We get out there three hours before the game,’’ said Marina Ortega, director of the Dancers. “We share the court with Ray. We move when he goes beyond the 3-point line. It’s just something where we need to pay attention. That’s the reason we don’t have problems.’’
There is zero interaction between Ray and the Celtic Dancers. Not a word. Not a glance. It’s an amazing demonstration of professionalism. By all parties.
Ray finished his routine last night at 6:13. Twenty-eight minutes. Three hours later, he was back on the court in Game 4. Allen scored the Celtics’ first basket a minute into the game off a fast break.
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.