Zach spent sometime on it earlier this week, breaking down his improved offensive shooting numbers in the 2nd half of the season.
Allen stepped it up even more against Miami, doing much of the heavylifting on offense while doing his best to keep Dwayne Wade in check on the other side of the floor.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers to see how good Ray has been lately:
Time of Season Min FG% 3PT% PT/G
Post All-Star 32.5 52.1 40.3 16.6
Miami Series 35.3 52.4 52.8 19.4
Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that Ray took more than 55 percent of his field goal attempts from downtown in that Miami series. You know what’s even crazier about the Miami series? Those numbers even include a game 1 stinker from Ray (2 of 9, 0 of 4 from downtown) when Ray was BENCHED for much of the 4th quarter in favor of Tony Allen. Talk about returning with a vegenence in games 2 through 5 there. Maybe Doc should try this tactic with all of his starters in game 1.
In any case, Ray is clearly in the zone right now. That in itself should be enough for Cleveland to fear Ray Allen. What if I told you though, I had some more numbers to make Boston fans even more optimistic? Numbers that should put Cleveland fans on edge. Read em and weep Cavs fans:
Opponent Min FG% 3PT% PT/G
Cleveland 38.8 48.3 57.7 22.5
Those splits come in four games this year. So I ask you Cleveland fans? Who stops Ray Allen in this series? Let’s remember Dwyane Wade, a terrific defender checked Ray for large portions of that Miami series as well.
Right now, Cleveland has the 34 year old Anthony Parker to guard Jesus. Ray has torched Parker, who is not considered a good defender to begin with, all year long, as the numbers above indicate. Seeing that Ray is on a hot streak, this head to head showdown has mismatch written all over it. We also won’t have to worry about Allen fighting foul trouble this series against a guy like Parker, (or shouldn’t anyway) as opposed to what Ray faced a lot of in the latter part of the series against Mr. Wade.
On the bench, there is Delonte West waiting to guard Jesus, and in all likelihood he should seeing plenty of action on Ray. We know Delonte well around here and while he is a gamer, he is also a huge shooting downgrade from Parker from downtown (39 to 32 percent). West, while being an upgrade defensively, is not considered a shutdown defender. Ray will certainly get his looks, especially if the rest of the C’s offense is clicking.
Boston fans might also remember that Cleveland shut down Ray impressively in their Playoff Series in 2008, limiting him to just 32 percent shooting from the field and 17 percent from downtown. A couple things to remember about that series though; First Ray was in a shooting funk during that entire postseason, up until the end of the Pistons series. Now, his numbers indicate quite the opposite.
Secondly, it’s pretty important to factor in just how important all this rest is to an aging shooter like Ray Allen. Instead of the last two postseasons, where Allen was bogged down by seven game series, as well as extreme minutes in the concluding months of the regular season, Doc Rivers and company has wised up this year in dealing with their sharpshooter. Let’s inspect the minute numbers by game for the last 2 years, first the regular season months:
Month 2009 2010
March 36.1 31.3
April 37.0 32.9
And now the 1st Round Playoff numbers
2008 vs. Atlanta (7 games) 37.8 minutes/game
2009 vs. Chicago (7 games) 39.5 minutes/game
2010 vs. Miami (5 games) 35.1 minutes/game
Putting it all together here, it’s numbers like this that make me more confident by the second when I picked the C’s to win this series a couple weeks back. I’m expecting big things out of Ray as we head into this heavyweight bout. Combining Ray’s hot shooting, ample rest over the 2nd half, two improved offensive threats (compared to 08) besides him in Perk and Rondo, as well as a lack of shutdown wing defenders makes me beg the question. How exactly will Cleveland slow down Ray Allen?
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