If the Miami Heat had their current roster, say about four seasons ago — the “big three” in Miami would probably be considered the “big four” — with Ray Allen being the fourth member.
We happen to be in 2014 when the Allen who used to be athletic enough to compete in dunk contest in his early years in the NBA has been forced by father time into becoming just a spot up jump-shooter over the past few years. When you happen to be the league’s all-time leader in made three-point field goals you still have some value in that role, and the Houston Rockets got a swift reminder of that on Sunday against the Miami Heat.
The Rockets entered Sunday’s game having lost two games in a row after a stretch that saw them win seven out of their previous nine games, with one of those seven wins coming against their opponent Sunday.
The Rockets beat the Heat just a little less than two-weeks ago and they accomplished that by playing excellent defense. Don’t get me wrong, they allowed LeBron James to score 22 points, but the way James has played this season — that’s excellent defense. Dwayne Wade and Michael Beasley both scored 24 points in the game, but the rest of the team scored a combined total of 33 points.
Ray Allen would score a quiet 13 of those 33 points not coming from James, Wade and Beasley. That 13 points would actually represent the most points Allen had scored in a game in his last nine outings.
Fast forward to Sunday and the Rockets might as well had been playing the 2004 version of Allen as he looked very similar to that guy out there. Allen scored 25 points, a lot of them of the wide-open variety and in all honesty he was the difference in the ball-game.
In a back-and-forth game, the Rockets seemed to be in the driver’s seat up five points in the fourth — unfortunately they let Allen hop in the car and take over the wheel. Allen scored 14 points in that crucial fourth quarter and he was as shocked as anyone watching at home that he continued to find himself open in such huge moments of the game.
Finishing 7-11 from the field while knocking down four huge three-pointers, the Rockets would lose the game 113-104 and learn a valuable lesson at the same time. The lesson of the day was that if the two teams happen to meet again this season, only possible in the NBA finals — They must remember that Ray Allen still has some game in 2014 and they should act accordingly.