MIAMI (AP) —For years, Ray Allen’s routine has not changed. Show up for work hours earlier than just about everyone else, go onto the court and take hundreds of jump shots.
It paid off for him on Tuesday.
And he’ll be back out there on Thursday — since the Miami Heat season still has one game remaining.
Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter capped a huge Miami rally plus essentially took the championship trophy out of San Antonio’s hands, and the Heat found a way in overtime to hold off the Spurs for a 103-100 win.
A pair of free throws by Allen with 1.9 seconds left sealed it, and on the last play of the game, Danny Green — who took Allen’s 3-point Finals record earlier in this series — had no chance at getting a potentially tying shot anywhere near the rim, the play snuffed out by Miami’s Chris Bosh.
So Allen lost his record in these NBA Finals.
He still has a chance at what he wants most: A second championship. It’s why he came to Miami. And without him, it probably wouldn’t be happening for Miami.
The 2013 NBA championship comes down to one game: Winner take all, Game 7, Thursday night. No one could have envisioned this when the Heat talked Allen out of taking a longer, more lucrative deal to stay with the Celtics last summer and successfully lured him to South Florida instead.
He scored only nine points, grabbed one rebound, had two assists. The numbers were downright paltry compared to LeBron James’ 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, but certainly Allen earned a ton of the credit.
When time expired, he skipped toward midcourt and let out a scream. A few moments later, he walked off the court coolly, a white towel draped over his neck, slapping a few hands.
Allen had been the best 3-point shooter in Finals history, making 22 of them in the 2008 series with the Celtics. Green took his record in Game 5, and now has 26 for the Spurs heading into Game 7.
Given a choice, there’s no question what Allen would want more: His record back, or a second ring.
His thoughts, down the stretch: “Until the clock runs out,” Allen said, “we still have an opportunity to win this game.”
So when Bosh turned and found him in the right corner with a few seconds left, the opportunity was not only there, it was his. He set his feet well behind the line, let that quick-release shot of his fly, and waited for the outcome.
All net. Referees reviewed it, but there was no question that the shot was a 3.
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