Kidd buries Celtics
His late 3-pointer wins it for Mavericks
At this point, it’s becoming a daily ceremony. A parade to the 3-point record. Every one Ray Allen makes is a celebration.
With the Celtics trying to gain any kind of momentum last night in an airtight game with a Mavericks team that had won six straight, Allen knocked down his first 3-ball of the night 38 seconds into the second half.
The TD Garden videoboard immediately cut to a close-up of Allen backpedaling to the defensive end, and in the corner of the screen there was a counter telling the crowd how many threes Allen needed to pass Reggie Miller and become the all-time leader.
He hit two more.
They got the same attention.
Meanwhile, Jason Kidd was there, unassuming, unsuspecting. Miller (2,560 threes) and Allen are all by themselves atop the 3-point list, but 800 behind them is Kidd in a surprising third place.
“Jason Kidd has always been known as the guy that couldn’t shoot, and yet he’s third on the list in 3-point shots,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “He’s literally laughed his way to the bank. Everybody was leaving him open. They still do.’’
The Celtics had a 2-point lead with 12.5 seconds left when the basketball gods decided to play a practical joke.
Kidd passed the ball to Jason Terry, Terry dropped it in to Dirk Nowitzki, and after kicking it around in the paint, Nowitzki fired it back to Kidd at the top of the key, where the point guard had been standing unguarded.
“Ray ran by him,’’ Kevin Garnett said succinctly. “He hit a three.’’
That was the dagger. While Allen (24 points) moved closer to Miller for the 3-point crown, Kidd (10 points, nine assists) helped the Mavericks polish of a sweep of the season series with a 101-97 win.
After leaving Kidd alone on the perimeter, Allen did his best to recover, leaping at Kidd’s pump fake.
“I was actually afraid that when I jumped, he was going to jump into me and I was going to foul him, which he could have,’’ Allen said. “But I was trying to run him off the three, and he just stayed there. That was a tough shot when you think about it, still being able to gather yourself to shoot that tough shot.’’
Coming in, the Celtics had their eyes on the wrong scorer.
Well aware of his track record at the Garden, the Celtics practically penciled in Nowitzki for 28 points. They just wanted him to score on their terms.
He was all but dormant for the first half, 8 points on 3-of-6 shooting. He finished with 29 points, and with 2:21 left he drew a foul on Garnett that he turned into a 3-point play, putting Dallas in striking distance at 97-94.
“I just thought it was a weird play,’’ said Garnett, who picked up a technical foul in the third quarter for shoving Jose Barea after the former Northeastern guard wrapped him up under the basket. “I actually tripped and we both fell. [Nowitzki] said at the free throw line that he was shocked that he got that [call]. I didn’t understand that. It’s out of your hands at that point.’’
After starting out 5 of 6 from 3-point range, the Mavericks ran cold from long distance, missing eight of their next 10. DeShawn Stevenson and Terry both airballed threes in the fourth quarter while trying to tie the game.
Tyson Chandler, snubbed twice in two days for a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team, had his fourth straight double-double, 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Celtics center Kendrick Perkins got his first start filling in for Shaquille O’Neal, who missed the game with an inflamed Achilles’. He finished with his first double-double of the season, 13 points and 12 rebounds, his second straight game with double-digit boards.
A tip-in by Perkins with 4:37 left gave the Celtics a 92-89 lead, an unsafe cushion in a series that has been marked by close games. The past four meetings have all been decided by fewer than 10 points.
“It was just one of those games,’’ said Paul Pierce. “You’ve got two heavyweights going at it. It just came down to whoever had the ball last and made the shot.’’
It turned out to be the 3-point shooter no one was thinking about.
“I’ll be in my bed,’’ Allen said, pausing, “thinking I should have never left him.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.