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Cleveland’s Biggest Worry: Ray Allen?

 

We’ve talked a lot about the resurgence of Ray Allen this year in the 2nd half of the season.

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?

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I love me some Ray Ray, but I think the Cavs biggest worry is our DEFENSE. If you look at the Cs & the Cavs LOSSES in the regular season you can see a pattern. The Cavs are 45-5 when scoring over 100 points. The Cs are 14-18 if they allow over 100 points. I talked before about how the ’100+ points allowed Cs’ are the Ugly Cs. They focus way too much on offense, showing off– attempting the spectacular trying to make it to the top 10 on Sportscenter, & trying to beat teams playing the Golden St. way. We want to boo these Cs because they play to the other team’s strengths, & they refuse to go with what actually works, what is tried & true. These Ugly Cs act like the Golden State Warriors & have a Golden St. Warrior record to prove it when allowing 100+ points. G St. is not in the playoffs for a reason.

    The Cavs become less juggernautish when teams hold them from 90-99 points. Their record is 15-9. Still, that’s pretty good. The Cs record when they hold teams between 90-99 is 12-11, basically it’s a coin flip for success or failure. This Cs team plays tough D for some of the game, but then they revert to the Ugly Golden St Warrior Cs focusing/caring way too much about the offensive end. They put more energy into offense & less energy into defense, trying to rest on defense. Thou shalt not rest on the defensive end.

    Now, here is the Cavs record when held under 90,

    *****1-7*******

    What???? Yes, it is possible for the Cavs to be mortals. What is even better is the Cs record when they hold teams under 90 points

    ****17-2*****

    Yes, that is our beloved Cs. Doc has said ‘it’s all about the defense, you goobers’ so many times that we all block it out, like when your girlfriend or wife is nagging you to clean the sink, pick up your socks, put air in the car’s tires, or kill a spider….

    You can see that most nba teams play with more excitement & energy on the OFFENSIVE end. That is where the crowd roars louder. Sadly, that is where it is easier to make the top 10 highlights. That is where people get on blogs & sing praises. BUT ……WHEN our beloved, beautiful, Gino loves you, happy time Cs put their best effort & energy on the DEFENSIVE end of the court & hold the enemy below 90 points, WE HAVE THE BEST CHANCE TO WIN. The reward for that is not making Sportscenter now but holding the trophy aloft at the end.

    I’m in anguish as I watch the points of the enemy creep up from 89 to 90 to 91 to 92…..& Grandma & her little pony, both start to weep when the other team breaks triple digits….100+ points….DOOM.

    Doc has to send the same message over & over & over. Hey, you potentially magnificent team who tunes me out because you are acting like know-it-all poopheads, it’s ALL about the DEFENSE. Why does he harp on this like a nagging wife? Because it’s true. Look at the record.

    Another thing you can see in the nba is something that happened in the Griz game at home. We were missing shots on our offense, & it affected our defense. That is not odd or unusual. Actually, it happens a lot. If any team plays poorly on offense their minds start to wander thinking about what they did wrong on offense, & they loose focus on the defensive end. This is great for us if we are playing terrific defense because many players cannot forget their poor offense. This makes our offense easier because the enemy is thinking about their offense when they are supposed to be on defense. They loose focus defending us, & we score easier. Our offense also gets a big boost when the majority of our energy & effort is at the defensive end because of forced turnovers & ez transition offense. The defense helps our offense.

    The fastest way to break 90 is ez paintish shots & 3pters. Cleveland was SECOND IN THE ASSOCIATION IN 3PT% made = THE Cs HAVE TO RUN THOSE “OTHER” GUYS OFF THE 3pt LINE. This is how the Cavs break 100 points with minimal effort. Let LeBron dunk if you have to, but don’t let those other guys kill you.

    Let the Cavs, even bait the Cavs into deep deuces. This is the best shot to give up. If Cleveland can jump shoot their way off of deep deuces to victory then so be it. That is defending with strategy. But to give the Cavs uncontested 3s (when they are 2nd in the league only to Phoenix at making them) and to give them the lane where you get THREE BAD CONSEQUENCES (easier shots, more fouls, easier rebounds) is cutting your own throat. I would even invite or leave the Cavs wide open for deep 2s (tougher shot with less value than a 3, you can control the boards better, & you keep your bigs out of foul trouble). Also, the mid range up to the 3pt line is not practiced that much. Everybody is putting all their time & practice into shots behind the 3pt line & getting into the lane.

    We all write on here because of one goal, to see KG on his knees, crying, & kissing the leprechaun again.

  • Jason

    I believe in streaks, of course they happen, but they’re meaningless to bank on. You never know when they will start, how long they will last or when they will end.

    After Game 1, everyone would claim Ray was cold and we should worry. Most would guess he’d be more likely to be cold than hot in Game 2. Didn’t work out that way did it? Now he’s had four hot games. Yeah, but he’s also rested 3 days. So what will it be? Hot or cold Ray? No one can answer that with ANY certainty. He could just as easily begin a slump as continue his hot hand.

    Ray’s an all-time great shooter. That’s it. End of statement. Over a significant period of time, he will shoot 40% from 3. In any quarter, game or series, however, no one knows what his percentage will be. Ray doesn’t know. Of course, I’m hoping he goes 5 for 6 every game, but that’s not likely. Even 4 for 8 would be wonderful. But he could just as easily go 0 for 7.

    If you’re the Cavs, you do whatever you can to challenge him, but if you’re a Cs fan, you can’t just expect him to hit 60% of his 3s this series.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    You guys are so great with the pics!!! I think Ray Ray is demonstrating 1 way to limit the effectiveness of Varejao.

  • jimkanicki

    you’re right that cavs fans are worried about celts back court. i’m much more worried about rondo though. he flat out owns slo williams. my solution would be to put delonte on rondo and get jamario moon on the perimeter with allen.

    doubt mike brown will do that tho..

  • Jason

    Hey, what do Rondo’s jump shooting numbers look like from the Miami series? I know he buried a few 3s and made some Js and I remember I think Game 5 him having two Js go halfway down before rolling out and another being the slightest bit short. Obviously he’s not Ray, but it definitely “looked” like he was shooting better and was curious what the small-sample numbers said.

  • Jason

    Well, actually, I do know this: 15-18 from the line. Awesome. And 3-6 from 3. Very nice. Still curious what his mid-range numbers were.

  • Dan

    @Brian: The sample size here is way to small to be meaningful. Obviously Ray Allen isn’t trending towards becoming a 50% shooter from beyond the arc.

    All that we can really conclude is that he has improved in the second half of the season, had 4 good games against Miami, and hope his good luck continues against the Cavs.

  • eric

    RayRay hasn’t been good only in those 4 games against Miami. He’s been carrying the load along with Rondo since the trade deadline expired. So I consider not very optimistic the idea of him going cold for the rest of this series. The fact is we need everyone very focused in these series cause if one piece isn’t working then it won’t be enough to top´Cleveland as they’re too damm good and clearly the front runners but I believe every player can step up(well, not every player, unfortunately, can’t say the same about Sheed) and have a good series vs the Cavs and Ray might be the x-factor as it’s the only matchup that clearly favors the Celtics. Go Green!!!

  • rav

    To be fair to Ray Allen, Anthony Parker is considered a plus defender. It’s not like he was torching a loser.

  • Ray Leighton

    It pleases me no end that Cptn Bubbles rants about defense at least once a week. Aside from the fact that he’s absolutely right — we need to maintain that defensive focus, every possession, for four quarters etc. — his rant saves me from one of my own (allowing me to rant about other things (see previous post)).

    But I would also dearly love to see both Ray and Paul (or Mike) hot from the arc -at the same time-. It hasn’t really happened much this season, and a lot of that may depend on Rondo penetrating and breaking down the defense to make it easier for the wings to get open. But Cleveland really would not have an answer for outside shooting from two spots.

  • JP

    Although I think Ray is important to the series, as with all of the starters, I have yo say that Rondo is most important to the C’s success. The PG position is the C’s biggest advantage over the Cavs and its really not even that close. The cavs will use a ton of leBron we need to use a ton of Rajon.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I hate to put this on Rajon or TA, but both of those guys are quick enough to get to the ball faster than Varejao. I’ve seen Rondo jump in front of bigs & get a rebound over a much taller player sooooo many times that it seems completely normal. IF Varejao is killing us on the boards then (if our bigs are just to slow to keep up) Rajon & TA with have to try & out quick him to the ball (just get in the habit of playing near him because he has good ball instincts). If they get in front of Varejao they will probably draw the foul because Anderson gets really mad about losing a rebound. This is good because he can fume about it on the bench. Seriously, I’ve watched Varejao time after time run right over or through guys trying to get the rebound. He is so big & runs so hard to the ball that his inertia carries him right through people leading to ez fouls on him.

    I would like to see Rondo in double figures by order of importance #1 in rebonding #2 in assists #3 pts. If Rajon plays in this unorthodox way we really might keep the Cavs to 1 shot & thereby keep them below 90 points.

  • ihatemarquisdaniels

    doubtful that rondo will have more boards than assists or points in either game 1 or this series. Good point about Varejao though

    I’ve got a good feeling about this though… I better have anyway… I bet a good friend my 20 bucks to his 80 that the celtics would win the championship.

    Just hope that the basketball gods will spare me and my pathetic bank account

  • Ray Leighton

    Cptn Bubbles is right — I’ve watched a lot of Cleveland games this year (know thy enemy…) and Varejao plays really out of control, especially around smaller opponents. He doesn’t like losing rebounds, doesn’t like being “attacked” etc. by smaller, quicker players. I would like to see Rondo not just penetrate, but also penetrate towards Varejao. Instead of making him the weak-side helper, make Varejao the guy who has to foul you. Because when the calls start going against him, he gets more and more riled up and out of control — and soon winds up sitting on the bench.

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