Ray Allen has already made two game-winning 3s for the Miami Heat this season. His four-point play against the Denver Nuggets enabled Miami to squeak by despite playing bad defense and getting pummeled on the glass. And most recently, Allen's 3 Saturday gave Miami a close win after the Heat played down to the level of a Cleveland Cavaliers team without Kyrie Irving.
Yes, the Heat's play so far -- just short of a month into the regular season -- has been underwhelming at times. Miami currently ranks twenty-third in defense efficiency -- the bottom third of the NBA. In addition to lollygagging against weaker competition, the Heat have mostly withered against the stronger teams. Grantland's Zach Lowe and others have shown that Miami's defense plays much worse when Allen steps onto the court. Lowe even pondered whether Allen "has the physicality and speed" to fit in with Miami's defensive system.
But on the offensive end of the floor, Allen has delivered. And that's been enough for wins in November.
Allen may be 37 years old, but he's still found ways to score aside from open 3-point shots. In the fourth quarter of the Heat/Cavs game, Allen came off a curl at the top of the key and rolled into the paint. No one rotated to cover Allen, and Dwyane Wade easily found the 6-foot-5 shooting guard with an in-bounds pass. On the Heat possession just prior to Allen's 3 decisive against Cleveland, the former Connecticut standout drove baseline and converted on a three-point play. Cleveland succeeded in running Allen off the 3-point line, but failed to keep him from getting to the basket.
Ray Allen keeps Heat winning despite defensive troubles
Hot Hot Hoops | Nov 26