On Ray's race to history

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On Ray's race to history

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

If you go by his season average, Ray Allens roughly 13 games away from setting a new NBA record for three-pointers in a career. But when that day finally comes, maybe even more impressive than the record itself, will be just how efficiently Allen went about breaking it.

In all, it took Reggie Miller 18 seasons, 1,389 games and more than 47,000 minutes to drain his record 2,560 threes. By contrast, thats three-plus seasons, 300-plus games and nearly 8,000 minutes more than Allens current career marks. And while the next month will narrow that gap a little, it wont be enough to weaken the glaring disparity.

Its pretty astounding, really, to think back on how talented Miller was (before killing his legacy in the broadcast booth), and then to see his career numbers eclipsed so handily. It gives us some perspective on just how legendary Allen actually is. And when you consider the timing, that hes still in ridiculous shape and that hes barely shown signs of slowing down, it seems likely that Allens not only going to break Millers record; hes going to obliterate it.

Over the next few years, Allen should do to career three-pointers what Favre did to consecutive QB starts only without the ego or the painkillers. Plus, Ray wouldnt be caught dead in Wranglers.

And when he eventually retires, Allen will do so as the undisputed long-range king. Throughout NBA history, hell become synonymous with the three-ball like Stockton with the assist, or Tony Allen with the ACL-tearing, after-the-whistle dunk attempt. In terms of NBA legacies, Rays will be all set.

But at the same time, as Allen closes in on three-point immortality, he does so at one small expense. By setting the new standard, and becoming the face of that record, hell unavoidably and unintentionally feed into the biggest misconception about his game.

That hes only a shooter.

Only is the key word here, because dont get me wrong: Ray Allen is obviously a shooter. He is one of the best, most precise and methodical shooters of all time. Relative to the rest of the league, shooting is the skill that sets Allen apart. Its the reason hell one day deliver a speech at Springfield. Its the reason why his great-grandchildren are probably set for life.

But because his shooting is so exceptional, the rest of his game usually suffers by comparison. And while thats only natural, its not necessarily fair.

Ask a casual NBA fan what Allen can do for a team, and theyll say shoot. Back in the summer of 2007, if youd asked most Boston fans what Allen would do for them, theyd have probably said the same.

When Allen first arrived, Celtics Nation thought they were just getting a shooter. A guy who and this is even before Kevin Garnett was in the equation could play off Paul Pierce. Spot up on the perimeter. Hit jumpers. Extend the D. Make a mockery of the foul line. And hes done that. Over the past three-plus seasons, Allen has done that for longer and with more consistency and durability than anyone could have imagined.

You forget now that when the Big 3 was first assembled, Allen was the one we worried about. He was the guy who would eventually break down. He was a 32-year-old shooting guard who was months removed from surgery on both of his ankles, and there was no way either would last.

You forget now that, since then, every time theres been cause or potential reason for the Celtics to shake things up, its Allens name thats thrown into the mix.

Caron Butler. Antawn Jamison. Richard Hamilton. Tyreke Evans. Andres Nocioni. Kevin Martin. Kirk Hinrich. Tyrus Thomas. Monta Ellis. Amare Stoudemire

Those are all guys who Allens been rumored in trades for over the past three years. But hes always survived the talk. Hes almost completely survived the obstacles of old age. And, every season, as the Celtics fight their annual battle with the injury bug, its Allen whos most immune.

Despite everything that was supposed to get in the way, Allens the one whos out there every night. And yeah, the shooting has been there. Its been inconsistent in small stretches, but for the most part its been as impressive and fascinating as you ever imagined. Its lived up to every bit of the hype.

But in getting to watch Allen every night, his shooting abilitys become more familiar, and less of a novelty. And as a result, weve been able to take a step back and find an appreciation for the greater aspects of his game that typically get lost in the obsession with his range.

Over the last three-plus years, weve seen a guy whos not only one of the deadliest shooters in the league, but also one of the most creative scorers.

He can score in 15 different ways. He doesnt hang on the periphery and wait for a kick out; he takes the opposing shooting guard and runs him off picks and into the ground. He gets to the rim or at least around it and finished with surprising consistency. Hes great in transition. Hell make shots fading left, fading right, or fading straight back. He has at least five different release point on his mid-range J. Hell take you for a baseline reverse. Hell stop short in the paint and swish a floater. Once in a while, youll get dunked on.

Is he headed to any All-Defensive teams? No. But aside from a few tough matchups over the years, hes never been a liability. You rarely caught yourself thinking, They gotta do something . . . Rays getting killed out there!

He doesnt make mistakes. Seriously, not counting cold shooting nights (because those are going to happen once in a while), how many times over the last three-plus years have you actually been frustrated or upset with Ray Allen? Guarantee its less than anyone else on the team. Hes a chameleon. A guy wholl go from third or fourth option with the starters to primary scorer and point guard without breaking stride.

In terms of clutch, hes right up there with Pierce, which puts him right up there with anyone in the league. You could argue that Allen's actually been more clutch than Pierce since the Big 3 got together. Hes a calming force. No matter what the situation, or whats on the line, youre at peace when the balls in his hands.

Hes a great shooter. Yeah, we knew that, and weve seen that. And judging by those last two sentences, some of us have maybe been a little spoiled by it.

But just as well, as much as he's a great shooter, we've all come to know him as a great player

And realize that the soon-to-be NBA Three-Point King deserves to be remembered for so much more.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays

 

QUOTES:

"Rick has been the model of consistency.'' - John Farrell on starter Rick Porcello

"It means that we have a heck of a team, really. The runs we put up, and I don't think anybody talks about our defense.'' - Porcello, asked about the significance of being baseball's first 18-game winner.

"It's cool to be a part of that, but we're in a race right now and that's way more important.'' - Mookie Betts on the crowd chants of "MVP!" during his at-bat.

 

NOTES

* Hanley Ramirez has nine extra-base hit in the last 15 games.

* Opposing baserunners have stolen only 54 percent of the time when Sandy Leon is behind the plate, the lowest figure for any Red Sox catcher (minimum 20 games) since 1987

* Brock Holt tied a season high with three hits, including two with two outs and runners in scoring position.

* Mookie Betts set a career high with 72 extra-base hits.

* Betts became the third player in franchise history to have a 30-homer season before the age of 24. Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro are the others.

* Betts has five homers and 13 RBI in his last five home games.

* Rick Porcello is just the fifth major league pitcher since 1913 to begin a season 13-0 at home

* Porcello is the third Red Sox pitcher to win 18 of his first 21 decisions after Cy Young (1902) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008)

* David Ortiz leads the majors in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS.

 

STARS:

1) Rick Porcello

The righthander became the first 18-game winner in the big leagues and he did it by supplying seven innings for the sixth straight start while improving to 13-0 at home.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts gave the Red Sox an early lead with his 30th homer of the year, becoming the third player in franchise history to reach that milestone before the age of 24.

3) Travis Shaw

Shaw broke out of a month-long slump with a three-hit game, including a double, to go along with two RBI.

 

Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

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Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

The Patriots announced three roster moves on Monday night. Two resulted in players parting ways with the team. The other opened a roster spot without a departure. 

In addition to releasing both defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and center Bryan Stork, the Patriots also placed guard Tre' Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Jackson began training camp on PUP, and he has not practiced with the team since camp kicked off. Now that he is on the reserve/PUP, the second-year player out of Florida State will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, but he will not count against the active roster during that period. 

Jackson, a fourth-round pick last year, played through knee issues at times as a rookie, seeing action in 13 games and starting in nine. He has been spotted on the practice fields this summer, but he has been limited to warm-ups and conditioning work. 

In his absence, the Patriots still have depth at guard, which may have had something to do with the team's willingness to make Jackson unavailable for almost the first half of the season. Rookie Joe Thuney looks like he will be the starter at left guard, while Josh Kline could be the option at right guard to start the season. Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason are dealing with injuries at the moment, but they both returned to the practice field on Monday, and they also have a shot at the right guard job. Rookie sixth-rounder Ted Karras could also factor in as a reserve at either guard or center if he makes the club. 

The Patriots currently have 80 players on the active roster and need to reduce that number to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

First impressions: Porcello settles in, helps Red Sox beat Rays, 9-4

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First impressions: Porcello settles in, helps Red Sox beat Rays, 9-4

First impressions from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

* Rick Porcello followed form.

Porcello has, throughout the season, struggled some in the early innings before making some adjustments and stabilizing as the game wears on.

So it was Monday night against the Rays.

Coming into the start, Porcello had compiled a 4.15 ERA in the first three innings with a 2.13 ERA in innings four through six.

Sure enough, Porcello allowed four straight hits and two runs in the third inning. After that, he looked like a different pitcher. He did yield a solo run in the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double and two groundouts.

But from the fourth through the seventh, he faced 13 hitters and retired 12 of them, including five by strikeout.

 

* Travis Shaw showed signs of digging out his funk at the plate.

Shaw was 0-for-6 to start the homestand, and since the beginning of August, had compiled an anemic .141/.236/.264 slash line with only four extra-base hits (two doubles, two doubles).

That resulted in Shaw losing playing time to Aaron Hill at third, and being dropped lower in the batting order.

But Monday, Shaw smacked a double to right -- the kind of extra-base power that he almost routinely flashed in the first half -- and later added two singles for a three-hit night.

It marked the first multi-hit game for him since July 26, better than a month ago.

 

* Lo and behold, the Red Sox can collect hits with the bases loaded.

The team's struggles in that department have been well-chronicled. Coming into the night, the Sox were hitting just .211 in such situations, ranking them 14th out of the 15 A.L. teams.

Time after time, the Sox have failed to come through with the bases full, sometimes even with no outs.

But that wasn't the case Monday. Twice, in fact, the Sox had innings with the bases loaded and both times, they scored.

In the second, Brock Holt's single to left scored Chris Young, though Sandy Leon was cut down at the plate when the Sox tried to get two runs out of it.

In the seventh, a sharp single to center by Sandy Leon scored two more.