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One of Boston’s heralded “Big 3,” Ray Allen was a key acquisition for the Celtics and a huge factor in the Celtics’ 17th NBA Championship. Allen was brought to the Celtics from the Sonics (with Glen Davis) in exchange for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and No. 5 pick Jeff Green.
When the trade was announced, I remember mixed feelings among Celtics fans due to the fact that Ray is in his early 30′s and had some problems with injuries in the past. He put all those doubts aside though and helped carry the Celtics to the top.
During the regular season, Allen was third in scoring behind Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He was a master of the three-point shot and a near-guarantee at the free throw line. Ray finished the regular season averaging 17.4 points and 3.1 assists per game as well as shooting .398 from beyond the arc.
These were Allen’s lowest scoring numbers since the 98-99 season when he averaged 17.1 points per game for Milwaukee. However, like Pierce and Garnett, Allen had to sacrfice some of his averages while playing with two other all-stars.
Speaking of all-stars, Ray was named to represent the East in the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. Allen did not originally make the team, but was later added to replace an injured Caron Butler. Ray proved in that game that he should have made the team to begin with by rivaling teammate Lebron James for MVP honors. Allen lead the All-Star game in scoring and finished with 28 points and hit 5 of 9 three-pointers in the game.
Ray had a playoffs that was full of ups and downs, but he came through when he needed to. Against Atlanta in the first round, Ray seemed to be just fine until the last game where he only scored 7 points. Ray continued to struggle after that through the Cleveland series when he only averaged 9.3 points per game during tough 7-game series. Allen woke up in the Detroit series and helped the C’s get into the NBA Finals by averaging 20.3 points per game.
During the NBA Finals, Ray was one of the best players on the team and really could not be stopped it seemed. He finished the finals by averaging 20.3 points per game. Ray also held his own against Kobe Bryant on defense and proved me wrong in my earlier finals predictions where I thought the Celtics would be forced to have Pierce cover Bryant for most of every game.
Ray is going to continue to be a key contributer in Boston for at least the next two years of his contract. He avoided major injuries this past season and as long as stays that way again next year, Ray is going to be a premier player once again and continue to call the three point line his.