Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
No folks, that wasn't Ray Allen's Halloween costume. He actually plays for the Miami Heat now.
Like Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon and Adam Vinatieri before him, Allen turned his back on Boston to join the enemy. Who knew the NBA's golden boy could play the villain so well?
On a night that should have been all about LeBron James (the ring ceremony, the championship banner being hung from the rafters in front of the hated Boston Celtics, the minute-long Samsung ads during the commercials), the 37- year-old Allen captured the spotlight with a stunningly efficient 19 points in 31 minutes. LeBron on the other hand, spent most of the second half in the locker room struggling with leg cramps.
It didn't take long for Allen to sink his first bucket in a Miami uniform. Just 63 seconds after coming into the game for Chris Bosh, backup point guard Norris Cole desperately flung it to Allen in the corner with the shot clock expiring.
If you don't know what happened next, you haven't been following Allen's career very closely. The successful three-pointer was the 2,719th of Allen's career.
Meanwhile Kevin Garnett, who says he "lost" Allen's phone number during the offseason, was on the Boston bench doing his best McKayla Maroney impression. The 14-time All-Star didn't acknowledge Allen when he tapped him on the shoulder before entering the game.
As usual, Allen got the last laugh. Allen connected on five of his seven field goal attempts while Garnett committed five turnovers and struggled with foul trouble for much of the night.
Rajon Rondo, never one to keep his cool, lost his temper and picked up a technical foul in the fourth quarter, which Allen converted into an easy free throw. On the night, Allen was 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Rondo later picked up a flagrant after nearly choking Dwyane Wade on a drive to the hoop with 16 seconds left in the game. Clearly, the talented point guard still has a bit of growing up to do.
You're telling me the guy who abandoned his team of five years to go play for the archrival somehow came away looking like the classy one?
"I can't say enough good things about [the Celtics]. I love New England. It will always be my home and will always be a special place for my family," Allen said after the game.
But the question remains, is this what fantasy owners can expect from Allen on a nightly basis?
Last year during the playoffs when Allen was hobbling around on a pair of bum ankles, his shot looked clunky and flat, hence his pitiful 30.4 three-point percentage and his career-worst 71.1 percent clip from the free throw line.
Tuesday, Allen had good lift on his shot and his stroke looked as fluid as ever. Allen did a nice job moving off of screens and it looked like he was in great shape. Basically, Allen looked like his old "sure to be in the Hall of Fame someday" self again.
So why am I still hesitant to endorse Allen as a top-tier fantasy option? For me, it's not about Allen's ability. I knew that as soon as Allen got his ankles right, he would continue to be a dominant three-point shooter. Remember, even during his injury-plagued 2011-12 season, Allen drilled a career-best 45.3 percent of his three-pointers.
The problem is that Allen isn't going to play 31 minutes every night. Tuesday's heavy workload was an aberration for Allen, who benefited from extra playing time because of LeBron's injury. Even in those 31 minutes, Allen only took seven shots. During Allen's previous five seasons with the Celtics he averaged 12.5 shots per game.
Allen was able to put up a respectable point total because he shot eight free throws but most nights, seven shots won't be enough to have much of an impact. Keep in mind that aside from scoring, Allen is almost useless in all other areas of fantasy. Last season he averaged an underwhelming 3.1 rpg and just 2.4 apg.
Unless Wade gets hurts (which is possible), Allen will be coming off the bench all season for the Heat. And how much of Allen's spectacular 19- point effort was pure adrenaline? There's no way Ray will be as pumped up for Friday's game against the Knicks as he was for Tuesday's matchup with Boston.
On Tuesday, we saw the best Ray has to offer. He'll have value in fantasy but realistically, Allen's ceiling isn't as high as it has been in past seasons. Plus, who knows when Allen's weathered ankles will give out again.
Allen's success might not last all season but for one night at least, Jesus Shuttlesworth had plenty of game.
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