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Saturday, February 5, 2011
Got threes?

By Greg Payne

Comcast SportsNet ScreenshotRay Allen's mother, Flo, with a shirt fit for her son's upcoming milestone.
BOSTON -- Celtics guard Ray Allen continued his approach towards NBA history Friday night, as he buried three 3-pointers in a 101-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, moving to within five triples of Reggie Miller's record for most career 3-point field goals made.

Allen's currently averaging 2.3 made 3-pointers per game this season, and if that pace continues, he will likely eclipse Miller's 2,560 career 3-pointers next Thursday against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. Ironically enough, that game will be nationally televised by TNT, the station Miller serves as a color analyst for, which means there is a chance that he could be broadcasting the game in which his record is surpassed.

Allen's pursuit of Miller's record has been a widely discussed topic all season, but the attention being paid to it has increased tenfold over the last few weeks as Allen has inched closer and closer. Even the JumboTron at the TD Garden displays a graphic after each 3-pointer Allen makes, letting the home crowd know how close he is to the record.

"I hear it in the building more than I have in games past," Allen admitted. "I think everybody knows, but there's a sense of me getting sidetracked if you worry about it, because you feel like you've got to shoot it from beyond the arc. I don't want to press, I don't want to step outside of what we're trying to do here, and just continue to be who I am and do what I've been doing this whole time.

"I know it. I know it's in the back of my mind. I know it's there, but this is me being here, being where I am. I'm here because of the preparation I've put in my whole career, so I just stick to that and let it carry me the rest of the way."

One might think all the hoopla might serve as more of a distraction than anything else for a player as focused as Allen -- even as he's shooting a career-high 45.7 percent from beyond the arc this season -- but he admitted after Friday's game that he's thoroughly enjoyed chasing Miller's record, as well as everything else that has come to be associated with it.

"I truly am enjoying it," Allen said. "This is a moment that I've never experienced before. I don't know how many people can experience this type of moment. We're playing a team sport, but there's the individual element that is associated with me right now [and] as much as I've always been very into the team, it's something that everybody is pointing at me, like, 'You need to keep doing this, you need to do that.' It's all a testimony to the guys that can stay around for a long time, because, you get 20,000 points, however many minutes -- whatever it may be -- but longevity produces greatness in any sport."

The careers of Allen and Miller overlapped for nine seasons, spanning from Allen's rookie season during the 1996-97 campaign, all the way through Miller's final year with the Indiana Pacers during the 2004-05 season. Their two teams squared off in the opening round of the 2000 postseason, with Miller's Pacers besting Allen's Bucks in five games. In the clinching game of the series, Miller produced a series-high 41 points on 15-of-25 shooting (3-of-7 from 3-point nation).

Miller, though, has remained one of Allen's biggest supporters over the years, and that support hasn't wavered in the midst of Allen inching closer to his record.

"Since he's been out, he's one guy that has been more of an advocate for me and what I do," Allen said of Miller prior to the Celtics' tilt with the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 14. "If I have a bad game, he's just always been encouraging and trying to keep me on track with myself and [my] game. It was never about a record. It was just always about, 'Hey, you're a shooter, you go out and shoot. Don't be distracted by what people say, you know, you took this shot, you didn't take this shot.' That's how it's always been. I think, now, this has drawn us even closer because we're both attached to this three-point record. But, like any record, I think any record that anybody holds, when a record is broken it always pays homage to the person who held it and what they meant to the game. So, I think, first and foremost, what he's meant to the game is really what set precedent for the rest of us to come in and do what we've done."



Greg Payne is a student intern for ESPNBoston.com