The Epic High and Crazy Low for Celtics' Ray Allen

| by Sports Nickel

Please, spare me anything claiming Ray Allen isn’t one of the top shooters in the history of the league. Despite his 0-13 shooting in Game 3, Ray Allen didn’t lose his jumpshot, overnight. It’s just simple arithmetic.

Everyone will be talking about Allen’s nearly record-setting poor night but it’s time to look at the numbers, because, while they can be manipulated, they simply don’t lie. 

In Game 1, Ray Allen went 3-for-8 from the field. In Game 2, he went 11-for-20, and in Game 3, 0-for-13. Combined, that’s 14-for-41, or 34.1 percent for the series. From 3-point range, he has made 8-of-21 in the series, or 38.1 percent.

His season averages? Well, in the regular season, he shot 47.7 from the field. and 36.3 percent from 3-point line. In the playoffs, including last night’s goose-egg performance, he’s still averaging 43.9 percent from the field and 41.6 from behind the arc.

The point? He’s basically where he was all season. He’s still better from behind the arc in the playoffs than he was in the regular season, though he is down about 4 percent from the field.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed the authors of Stumbling on Wins, and they write specifically about the hot-hand theory in the NBA. Check out the interview for more about stats and decision making in the NBA and NFL, but they basically say that no player is ever really “on fire” during a game — it’s simply the law of averages doing its magic. In the end, it all usually evens out. Make a few here, miss a few here, and it’s all a wash.

This is that theory at its finest. He has a great shooting game in Game 2, and a bad one in Game 3? The result, he’s still about where’s he’s been throughout the entire regular season. Stop being so myopic, everyone. While I know people will say, “If Ray Allen even made a few of those shots, Boston would have won,” it’s simply an ignorant statement. Because, while that may be true, it wouldn’t be working with what his averages say will happen. He could and should have probably missed more shots in Game 2, which may have cost the Celtics the chance to win that game, so again, it’s all even steven.

So again, everyone, please exhale. While people may be saying, he’s lost his shot, or worse, his confidence, it simply isn’t the case. Expect him to bounce back over the next few games, and he’ll probably end the series right about where he is now, which is basically where he’s been all season.

It’s not his stroke, it’s not the defense. It’s just numbers and averages working out, like they should.

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