Ray Allen expects to make every shot. That’s the mentality of one of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history.
When Allen got the ball with seven seconds left and Miami down by three to San Antonio in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the basketball gods must have been smiling on the Heat because they couldn’t have picked a better player to take the most important shot of the season.
”If there’s one guy that you want the ball to be swung to on a situation like that it’s Walter Ray Allen,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. ”After years of doing that to us, it was great to be on the right side of that for once.”
After LeBron James missed his 3-point shot, Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound and quickly kicked the ball out to Allen. He calmly backed up behind the line and confidently swished the game-tying, season-saving trey with 5.2 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
“When I saw [Chris Bosh] get the ball, I just backpedaled right to the 3-point line and I was hoping I was where I needed to be,” Allen said. “But I wasn’t quite sure where I need to be, but just from years of shooting I got to my spot.”
Allen’s shot didn’t win the game but it will go down in Finals history as one of the greatest. It certainly gave the Heat a second life and, at the same time, sucked the life out of the Spurs — who held a five-point lead with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Miami went on to win in overtime 103-100 to set up a monumental Game 7.
“It’s gonna be a shot that I’ll remember for a long time,” said Allen, who holds the NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a career. “There’s a lot of shots that I’ve made in my career,” Allen said. ”But this will go, you know, high up in the ranks, because of the situation. Just from the way that last minute and a half unfolded it wasn’t looking good for us.”
The Spurs have to be kicking themselves after Tuesday night. They had the championship in the bag if they just made one more free throw and grabbed one more rebound. But, as Allen said, luck was shining on the Heat’s side.
“Bad. Very bad,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who had a rough shooting game and had eight turnovers. ”It’s a tough moment. We were a few seconds away from winning the championship and we let it go.”
Allen said the shot itself wasn’t all that difficult because he had done it a thousand times during games and in practice.
“It’s tough but believe it or not I work on it quite often,” he said. “I try to put my body in peculiar situations coming from different parts on the floor, different angles. It wasn’t unfamiliar to me. When it went in I was ecstatic, but at the same time I was expecting to make it.”