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Irish Coffee: Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline

02.10.11 at 1:46 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

In case you haven’t heard, Ray Allen trails Reggie Miller by one 3-pointer for the NBA’s all-time record of 2,560 career treys. Considering he’ll likely surpass Miller against the Lakers on Thursday night, what better time than now to create the Ray Allen 3-Point Timeline?

  • Nov. 1, 1996 (Bucks 111, 76ers 103): Allen made the first 3-pointer of his NBA career.
  • Nov. 2, 2000 (Rockets 114, Bucks 93): Allen made the 500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
  • Jan. 1, 2003 (Bucks 106, Cavaliers 94): Allen made the 1,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
  • Jan. 11, 2005 (Sonics 104, Clippers 99): Allen made the 1,361st 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dan Majerle for fifth on the all-time list.
  • Nov. 9, 2005 (Cavaliers 112, Sonics 85): Allen made the 1,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
  • Dec. 13, 2005 (Warriors 110, Sonics 107): Allen made the 1,543rd 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Tim Hardaway for fourth on the all-time list.
  • Dec. 20, 2005 (Suns 111, Sonics 83): Allen made the 1,560th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Glen Rice for third on the all-time list.
  • April 7, 2006 (Sonics 121, Trail Blazers 108): Allen made the 1,720th 3-pointer of his NBA career, passing Dale Ellis for second on the all-time list.
  • Jan. 5, 2008 (Celtics 92, Pistons 85): Allen made the 2,000th 3-pointer of his NBA career.
  • Dec. 25, 2010 (Orlando 86, Celtics 78): Allen made the 2,500th 3-pointer of his NBA career.

When Allen had a chance to tie or surpass a milestone or a top-five 3-point shooter, he generally accelerated past them. In fact, the only time he had the chance to set a new milestone but didn’t was the night before he eclipsed 2,000, finishing 0-for-3 that evening.

Given a chance to pass those milestones, Allen finished 35-for-70 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range in those games. He also averaged 23.5 points under those circumstances.

With 1,540 3-pointers in his NBA career thus far, Paul Pierce needs just seven to pass Hardaway and Jones for 10th on the all-time list. Oh, Avery Bradley and Kendrick Perkins have a shot at sinking the first 3-pointer of their NBA careers. Allen has just 236 fewer career 3-point baskets than the entire rest of the Celtics team combined.

Ray Allen might be nicknamed Jesus, but his success hasn't all been God-given. (AP)

RAY ALLEN: MY PREPARATION ‘DRIVES ME INSANE’

Obviously, Jackie MacMullan got Allen to open up about his training regimen on the eve of his big night. If Boston athletes had a confessional, she’d be the priest. Highlights from MacMullan’s interview with the 35-year-old shooting guard:

  • On his God-given talent: “I’ve argued this with a lot of people in my life. When people say God blessed me with a beautiful jump shot, it really pisses me off. I tell those people, ‘Don’t undermine the work I’ve put in every day.’ Not some days. Every day. Ask anyone who has been on a team with me who shoots the most. Go back to Seattle and Milwaukee, and ask them. The answer is me — not because it’s a competition, but because that’s how I prepare.”
  • On his preparation: “It drives me insane. I’m wrought with anxiety about being ready, about getting my shots in with nobody on the floor but me. Sometimes I get this bad feeling, almost like an itch, and I’ve got to get rid of it. I’ve got to get out there and get my shots up so that feeling goes away. It is bothering me right now. Small things are getting to me.”
  • On shooting: “Some people could care less if they make a jump shot, a free throw. I have chosen to zone in and focus on this. I played baseball and football and some soccer, and I truly would have been the best at those sports at whatever position I chose because I would have set my mind to it. I’m of sound mind and body, two arms and two legs, like millions of other people, but the ones who want it badly enough set themselves apart.”
  • On Boston: “I think about anything Larry [Bird] has done, that [Kevin] McHale has done, that Robert Parish has ever done, and they are icons forever in Boston. You can accomplish great things in other cities and the historians might take note, or the real sports junkies, but I was in Milwaukee for six and a half years and Kareem [Abdul Jabbar] was the best player that franchise ever had outside of Oscar Robertson, and not a lot of people talk about either one of them. Here? You are immortalized.”

Of course, MacMullan didn’t stop with Ray. She talked to former Bucks and current Nuggets head coach George Karl, one-time UConn teammate Donny Marshall, current Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and current Celtics head coach Doc Rivers:

  • George Karl on Allen’s obsession: “Ray’s a perfectionist. He’s also a very confident person, and in a way, that can be somewhat detrimental when he’s trying to fit into a team. His attention to detail, at times, was antagonistic to his teammates. He had to work to find a comfort level with them. We were managing a lot of egos.”
  • Donny Marshall on Allen’s adjustment in Boston: “Ray wanted to do it his way, and Doc wouldn’t let him. Ray would say, ‘He hasn’t scored as many points as me; he hasn’t done the things I’ve done,’ and I’d have to remind him, ‘But Ray, he’s your coach.’”
  • Doc Rivers on Allen’s sacrifice: “It wasn’t that hard. He fought it, but he didn’t fight it. Ray was used to having the ball in his hands in Seattle, where he dribbled for 22 seconds and got to decide when to shoot and when not to shoot. I told him, ‘We can’t win that way.’ I asked him to trust me. Then I told the other guys, when Ray was open, they had to get him the ball. It’s no coincidence he’s been as efficient here as he’s ever been in his life.”
  • George Karl on Allen’s confidence: “What I’ve always liked about Ray is even though he’s somewhat of a finesse player, he’s not fearful of making the courageous play when needed. Now, sometimes that means making a big shot at the end of the game, but sometimes it’s taking on a difficult defensive assignment or coming up with a big rebound.”
  • Stan Van Gundy on Allen’s impact: “As good as the [Celtics] are offensively, the hardest thing we have to defend is Ray running off screens, and not just because of his shooting. When you take that away, he can make all of the plays. He can get the other guys easy baskets.”

Essentially, Allen’s success comes down to three things: compulsion, consistency and cajones.

Flo Allen has watched every NBA game her son has played. (AP)

FLO ALLEN: ‘BOSTON IS REALLY HOME’

Eagle-Tribune columnist Bill Burt went to the real source of Allen’s success, his mother Flo Allen. She’s been the one sitting in the front row throughout Allen’s life, wearing his jersey and cheering on every highlight. Here are the highlights from that conversation:

  • On his 3-pointers: “You’re darn right chicks dig threes. How can you not? It’s such a great shot. I love them. I can’t get enough threes … especially when my Ray is taking them.”
  • On his career: “In the 15 years Ray’s been in the league I’ve never missed a game. DirecTV has made it a lot easier in recent years. When he was younger and playing in the NBA I thought it was important to talk to him about the game. He would know that I saw it. People that know me know that I don’t do anything on game night. If Ray’s playing, I’m home watching.”
  • On his childhood: “It was really hard at times. We didn’t have a lot of money. But being in the military environment, discipline is a part of life and it was with Ray and all of my kids. Respect was important in our family.”
  • On her career: “I played on the Air Force team in the ’80s and took my kids everwhere, to the games and practices. Nobody taught me the game. I taught myself. I worked hard and was the leading rebounder. … The called me ‘Truck.’ I wasn’t the biggest, but I was really tough. You don’t have to be big. You just have to want it.”
  • On his college choice: “If I was going to have my kid go somewhere at a young age, and be the same boy I raised when he left, I would want coach [Jim] Calhoun to be his guardian. He not only taught discipline but he genuinely cared about Ray and all of the boys he coaches. He not only coaches them, but he teaches them that there is life after basketball. I will always be indebted to him.”
  • On the Celtics: “The funny thing is the first youth team he played on was the Celtics and they wore green T-shirts. Then he went to UConn, where there were Celtics fans everywhere. He was hoping they’d draft him with the sixth pick, but he was taken by the Bucks with the fifth pick. … So when Danny [Ainge] put together that deal to get Ray and then get Kevin [Garnett], it was a dream coming true. I knew it was going to work because they were all professionals on and off the court. Boston is really home.”
  • On watching him: “I know Ray has been in the league for 15 years, but he plays every game like it’s his first. When he hits those threes, it feels like I’m hitting them too. … Even when he’s on defense, I’m playing defense, too. Sometimes my elbows fly a little bit. I feel bad sometimes for the people sitting next to me. But I think they understand. I love my son.”

You’ve gotta love that story about Allen’s first team as a child being the Celtics. Priceless.

After battling back problems last season, Ray Allen is shooting a career-best percentage this year. (AP)

RAY ALLEN: ‘I’M ONLY SURPRISED WHEN I MISS’

The media obligations for Allen have understandably been piling up over the last few days. He also conducted an interview with SLAM Magazine, during which he revealed why his 3-point percentage was the second-lowest of his career last season (and perhaps why he did not sink a 3 in four of the seven Finals games against the Lakers):

“People didn’t know then, I was having back problems. I didn’t play right before the All-Star break last year, in New Orleans. I didn’t play the game because I couldn’t stand straight up. I was navigating through that, trying to get my body feeling right. And [now] my body feels great. I don’t know — it’s just my legs feel great; my body, my back feels good; and I don’t have too much going wrong with my body physically.”

Here are the highlights from the rest of the interview between Allen and SLAM:

  • On the record: “It’s all about longevity. It’s all about taking care of yourself. It’s all about being a good teammate. It’s all about having good teammates. It’s all about being on good teams. It’s not like you just play 1-on-5. (Laughs.) All the great passes, the great point guards I’ve played with — there are so many things — all the big men that set so many great screens for you. There are so many things that go into this.”
  • On his mentors: “Well, my dad was a shooter. He could always shoot the ball, so I always played with him and watched him shoot. He was a better shooter than me for a long time. I just had a knack for putting the ball in, and then I ended up lining up with some coaches when I was young that instilled fundamentals in me. … When I first got to Connecticut, [current George Washington head coach Karl Hobbs] was instrumental in making sure I was consistent and shot the same way every time. He was a guard, and he just made sure, fundamentally, that I stayed on point. I give him a lot of credit.”
  • On whether his shot has changed in the NBA: “No, I don’t think it’s changed a lot. I just try to have that phone booth form and make sure I keep my legs consistent in my shot, and the rest takes care of itself.”
  • On his shooting form: “The lower body is the most important. The upper body is kinda like non-existent if your lower body is doing what it’s supposed to do — the upper body just feels like your flicking your wrist. That really comes into play. If you got great legs on your shot, you never have to worry about missing — it’s always going to have a shot to go in.”
  • On whether making 3′s ever surprises him: “I’m only surprised when I miss. When it doesn’t go in I’m like, ‘How did that happen?! I don’t get it.’ And truly I mean that. I only question the misses. When I make it, I expect it to go in. Even if I shoot a halfcourt shot, I feel like I’ve got a great chance of making it.”
  • On his shooting feel: “Just something you learn from shooting so many shots. So you know when you miss, you know you’re short, your legs aren’t in it. If you’re aiming, if you start aiming, that’s when you miss to the left or the right. All these things go into play. You just try to get to a point where you are comfortable enough to where you don’t aim, you’re not short, you just take one step in the air, flick of the wrist and the ball’s in the hoop.”
  • On practice making perfect: “There’s no question about it. You don’t even have to think about it anymore. That’s, alongside of [Malcolm Gladwell's] Tipping Point, all these things that we do over time, the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve spent 10,000 hours at any one task. You can argue that’s it not about you being great at something; it’s just you know how to do it over and over again.  That’s why I don’t take credit or praise for being able to shoot the basketball, because I do it so much. Pat me on the back; tell me I’m great. But, I’m like, get in the gym with me and you’ll be like, ‘I’ve watched him work out, so I really expect that to go in.’”

There you have it. Pretty much all you need to know about Ray Allen entering Thursday’s game.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail tobrohrbach@weei.com or a Twitter message to @brohrbach.)

Read More: 3-pointer, Boston Celtics, Ray Allen, record
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