Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Ray Allen was up to his usual tricks Saturday night, hitting a clutch three-pointer that he turned into a four-point play, helping lead his new team, the Miami Heat, past Denver.
It was exactly the kind of play that Ray Allen was brought to South Beach to make. With 14.1 seconds left, and the Miami Heat trailing 116-115, Allen inbounded the ball to LeBron James, who took the ball to the top of the key. Allen cut through the defense to the opposite sideline and positioned himself behind the arc in the corner, and James drove to the basket. When the help defense arrived on James, he kicked the ball out to Allen, and he did what he does better than anyone in NBA history -- made a big three-pointer with 6.7 ticks left. To top it all off, Allen was fouled -- and yes, of course, he hit the free throw.
Allen finished with 23 points off the bench, making 6-of-10 three-pointers in Miami's 119-116 victory. Vintage Allen? No question.
Can Allen keep this high level of play up all season long? It's doubtful. He takes excellent care of himself, but age has clearly affected him, as it did at the end of last season with the Boston Celtics when he suffered ankle injury that limited him down the stretch and in the postseason.
Maybe he can, and if so, you might as well hand the Heat the title right now.