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Saturday, June 14, 2008
Ray Allen's Perfect Possession


After some thought, the play of Game 4 that stands out most to me was Ray Allen's unbelievable bit of clock killing.

The Lakers scored with 40 seconds, to make it a three-point game.

If I coached the Lakers, I would have fouled very quickly in this situation. (Quick version of the argument, which is for another day: If Boston kills a full 24 seconds, you're only left with 16 seconds, and you would need one or two scores. If you foul, you're working with 39 seconds and needing one or two scores. Boston gets closer to the win with every second that comes off the clock. Evidently, few coaches agree with me on that, because they typically don't do it.)

However, just in case, the Lakers were going to foul, Boston kept the ball in the hands of Ray Allen, who has made 91% of his free throws in the playoffs this year.

The Celtics spread the floor.

Allen flew solo, and did everything as perfectly as it could have been done. Dribbling near the half-court line, he kept the ball safe under pressure from Sasha Vujacic. Then as the clock wound down, Allen broke down Vujacic in devastating fashion, eluded Pau Gasol under the rim, and finished with a tidy lefty layup just before the shot clock buzzer was to sound.

Celtics by five, 16 seconds left, Lakers essentially done.

Brooklyn writer Josh Hammann e-mailed:

Dumping a bucket of pig's blood on a girl at her prom is rude and all, but what Ray Allen did to Sasha Vujacic on that driving layup was humiliation of the highest order.

Someone breaks you down like that on the playground or in the Y and that's it. Grab you keys and Gatorade and head home, time to rethink some things.