January 28, 2011
No big deal, gang. Just an almost-36-year-old with more than 43,000 minutes of NBA wear on his tires taking advantage of porous transition defense, streaking to the cup, soaring to collect a — what would you call that? 43 feet? OK, let's go with that — 43-foot alley-oop and deposit it for an easy deuce. This is just the sort of thing we've come to expect from Ray Allen(notes), what with his non-stop rim assault that has resulted in seven dunks over the course of the 45 games he's played this season.
Really, though, judging by the response of Boston Celtics fans and NBA observers of all stripes on Twitter when the play went down last night, it seems like the only one who wasn't surprised that Ray could still do that was Rajon Rondo(notes). The general consensus seemed to be that this might have been the first alley-oop dunk that Ray's had since coming to Boston before the 2007-08 season. C'mon, Doc Rivers. Get this one into the playbook; it's clearly successful.
Allen also hit three of his six attempts from downtown against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, finishing with 18 points to pace Boston as they started a West Coast road trip with an 88-78 win at the Rose Garden. Those 3-point makes pull Allen within 17 triples of tying Reggie Miller as the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. NBA.com doesn't have official all-time dunk stats, but Allen is obviously closing in on that mark, too.
While fans always recognize the amazing physical gifts of explosive leapers and dunkers like LeBron James(notes), Blake Griffin(notes), JaVale McGee(notes) and Josh Smith(notes), we don't often think of career sharpshooters like Allen and Miller as similarly exceptional athletes. The differentiation is akin to how we separate (and, often, favor) top-flight sprinters like Usain Bolt over dominant marathon runners like Robert Cheruiyot; the precise, sustained, slow-boiling brilliance of the latter never seems imbued with the same electricity as the former, and most people naturally gravitate toward the brighter spark. Getting the occasional jolt from a distance king like Allen reminds you just how complete and remarkable an athletic specimen he is.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse the soar-and-stuff courtesy of kakalama12345678.