Celtics-Heat opener has Ray Allen subplot
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI – A solitary shooter launched three-pointer after three-pointer in the Miami Heat’s practice gym Monday, working his way around the arc. No shirt – just black socks, black shorts, black shooting sleeve on his left arm, gray basketball shoes with black trim.
Swish. Swish. Swish. Swish. Rim shot, ball falls through net. Swish. Swish. Swish. Miss. Swish.
Then Miami Heat guard Ray Allen moved to the free throw line.
Swish. Five in a row. Six in a row. Seven in a row.
It is Allen’s routine. Has been for 16 NBA seasons, helping to make him one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history.
The past five seasons he worked it with the Boston Celtics, where he won a championship in 2009 and made it to the Finals in 2010. Last season he and the Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference finals — losing to the Heat.
Allen finished his shooting – the last player left in the gym – and walked to more than 30 news reporters waiting to ask him about the anticipated and scrutinized matchup between the Celtics, his former team, and Heat, his new team, Tuesday night (8 ET, TNT) to open the 2012-13 NBA season.
“These guys have accepted me and brought me in and treated me as one of their own,” Allen said of the Heat.
He wanted to clarify one point, just in case the possibility existed that Allen might have egretted his decision to leave the Celtics: “I’m happy being in this situation.”
Which makes Ray Allen, in the eyes of the Celtics, the biggest turncoat in the Northeast since Benedict Arnold — and, in the eyes of the Heat, part of a new family, the kind of player who can help Miami repeat.
He will see the Heat receive their 2011-12 NBA championship rings Tuesday night, while his former coach, Boston’s Doc Rivers, joked the Celtics would be in the locker room watching an episode of Scandal or Homeland.
Allen attempted to treat the game as any other. “Every game you have butterflies. It can be Game 20, Game 50, Game 80, going into … [For more on Celtics-Heat opener has Ray Allen subplot, click here.]