Allen shoots the Heat into Game 7

Allen shoots the Heat into Game 7
June 19, 2013, 8:15 am
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MIAMI — Staffers at the American Airlines Arena began to make their way around with the yellow tape, preparing to cordon sections of the building for what many expected would be the San Antonio Spurs' coronation as NBA champions.

LeBron James haters had more ammo to lob his way; specifically his turnover with 39.9 seconds to play on an attempted pass while driving to the basket when a short jumper in the paint over Tony Parker - seven inches shorter and several pounds lighter - would have sufficed. 

But James, and the Heat's season for that matter, was saved by the one man who has made a career out of pulling teams back from the brink of defeat:

Ray Allen. 

There were a slew of big plays made by the Heat in rallying for a 103-100 overtime win, which forces a Game 7 on Thursday night, but none were as significant as Allen's 3-pointer that forced the game into overtime. 

"He's got ice water in his veins," said James, who missed a 3-pointer that was rebounded by Chris Bosh, who then passed it to Allen for the game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation. "Ray can go 0-for-99 in a game and if he gets an open look late in the game, it's going down. That's just the confidence he has in himself."

And for Celtics Nation, it was yet another reminder of the good old days - you know, two years ago - when Allen would can those same shots for the Celtics in helping lead them to postseason success that included an NBA title in 2008.

Allen's departure from Boston came as a shock to many, especially considering the Celtics offered him a two-year, $12 million contract while the Heat offered him a three-year, $9 million deal that reportedly includes a player option after this season. 

It's hard for anyone to believe Allen's success in these type of situations, doesn't provide him with some sense of added vindication for his decision to leave Boston.

"My focus has been here to help this team win," Allen said. "When I parted ways with Boston, it was . . . they went in their direction and obviously I went in mine. The minute I got here, this team made me feel welcome. I didn't win [an NBA title] last year with this team, but they made me feel a part of it."

Allen added, "So the redemption has been winning 66 games this year, and having the best record in the NBA, making it to the playoffs and getting to this point, and being with a great group of guys."

And while Allen has hit a lifetime's worth of game-altering shots, the NBA's all-time 3-point shooting king readily admits that the 3-pointer he hit in the closing moments of the fourth on Tuesday was special. 

"It's gonna be a shot that I remember for a long time," said Allen, who finished with nine points. "There's a lot of shots I've made in my career, but this will go high up in the ranks because of the situation; just the way that whole last minute-and-a-half unfolded."

That wasn't the only big shot made by Allen, either. 

Miami began the quarter trailing 75-65, and opened the fourth with a furious rally. 

It was a reverse, up-and-under lay-up by Allen that put the Heat ahead, 84-82, for the first time in the second half. 

And with the Heat clinging to a one-point lead, Allen came up with a huge defensive steal against a driving Manu Ginobili in the game's closing seconds.

"It wasn't looking good for us, but we've been resilient all year," Allen said. "Just being in that situation, the ball bounced in our direction.  I've known my own career, sometimes you just get lucky. When you win championships, it involves a little luck. That right there was luck shining on our side."