Allen, Pierce come up short in Three-Point Contest

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Allen, Pierce come up short in Three-Point Contest

By: Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES Never in the history of the free world has a Three-Point Contest received as much hype as Saturday nights showdown between Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Or at least thats how it felt in Boston.

And with pride, bragging rights and a little chunk of history on the line well, they both went home empty-handedand Miamis James Jones brought home the title.

But while neither Celtics great did enough for the win, and in turn, enough to go home satisfied, they each left their stamp on a Three-Point Contest that will be remembered for eternity throughout the annals of NBA history.

Sorry, I had Bill Walton write that last sentence. Lets just move on.

The contest kicked off with Allen setting the early tone. The NBAs new three-point king notched a dominating 20-spot in the first round, which was easily good for first place and a spot in the finals. Jones joined Allen in the championship round after posting a 16, and that left one more spot with only one player left to shoot.

The Captain and the Truth Paul Pierce.

At this point, Boobie Gibson and (shockingly) Kevin Durant had already eliminated themselves with scores of six and seven, respectively, and Golden States Dorrell Wright was sitting third with 11.

It would take a 12 to propel Pierce into the finals, and halfway through his round, it didnt look good. In fact, with timing winding down, Pierce only had eight and needed to hit his last three shots to avoid and early exit and massive embarrassment.

Paul Pierce? Timing running out? Need a shot to win?

You know what happened next.

9, 10 money ball 12. Pierce was in the finals, and celebrated with a Pants on the Ground-esque jig that earned him extra loathing from the mildly excited Staples Center crowd.

Man, I was trying to carry that momentum into the finals, but just came up short, Pierce said afterward. I had a really good rhythm. I think I got the jitterbugs out after the first round. I was happy just to make it to the finals. I just came up a little short."

Pierce went first in the finals (because he had the lowest score in the first round), and put up an 18. A pretty solid score. But Jones was next, and quickly knocked Pierce out of contention with an impressive 20.

With Pierce out of the picture, Ray was up, needing a 21 to emerge victorious and put the icing on his recently acquired three-point crown. He didnt.

He started off the final session cold, was actually eliminated before reaching the final rack and finished with 15.

"I wanted to win badly, said Allen, and I didn't need to talk about it. I just wanted to do it. So it just ... again, if I could find a gym tonight I'd go through it again, just to get that feeling out of my stomach."

And if losing didnt completely turn his stomach, Pierces post game trash talking certainly did the trick.

"When we all went up to the podium, James Jones would have got gold, I would have got silver, and (Ray) would have got bronze, Pierce said.

But dont worry. He was just kidding.

Nah, nah. I'm giving it to Ray, he continued. "He's the three-point king. This was my only opportunity to upstage him, and I failed."

On Saturday night, they both did.

But if this is the only time the Celtics lose to the Heat all season, no one (even, eventually, Allen) will care.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

According to multiple reports, Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract with the Clippers, making him a free agent. 

Griffin is considered one of the top free agents in a class that will also include Utah’s Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have been reported as possible suitors for both players. 

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, the 28-year-old Griffin is a five-time All-Star, though injuries have limited him over the last three seasons. 

Over 61 games, the 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Between numerous injuries and a suspension for hitting a member of the Clippers’ equipment staff, Griffin was limited to just 31 games in the 2015-16 season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski said recently that Boston’s reception for Clippers teammate Paul Pierce made a very strong impression on Griffin. Though there might not necessarily be a connection between the two, Griffin said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that Boston is on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities. 

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum was excited about working out for the Boston Celtics. 

But he knew that, health-wise, he wouldn’t be at his best. 

TATUM SPEAKS

 
He could have easily pulled out like others had, or just told the Celts in advance so they could take it into account when they were deciding on who to take with the No. 3 pick. 
 
Instead, he kept it to himself until after his workout, focused on doing what the best in the NBA do on a nightly basis -- finding a way to play their best when at their worst physically. 
 
“I wasn’t feeling well, but you can’t make excuses,” Tatum said during an interview with CSN’s Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “There can be times in the future where there’s a game or playoff game where you’re not feeling well. Nobody is going to care. You have to produce.”
 
Did. He. Ever. 
 
The workout didn’t just go well.  It ranked among the best Danny Ainge had seen, which made the decision for Boston to select the 6-foot-9 forward from Duke with the No. 3 pick an easy call. 
 
Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, had an eye on Tatum all season and acknowledged he had high expectations for him to perform at during his workout in Boston. 
 
“He was better than I actually thought,” Ainge said during the CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “Which was hard to do, because we thought highly of him before.”
 
During the workout, Ainge saw a young man who had worked on improving his perimeter shooting to the point where it was actually one of his stronger qualities. 
 
 “As I watched him play earlier in his life  . . . what he lacked was his range shooting,” Ainge said. “He was a very good mid-range player and good passer off the dribble. But the range shooting, what he showed us in the workout here was very impressive. We had two workouts with him. And in both of them, he was one of the best shooters in this whole draft at any position, and one of the best shooters we’ve had in here for any draft.”
 
Making Tatum’s workout all that more impressive was it came with him far from at his best health-wise, something the Celtics didn’t learn of until afterwards. 
 
“He wanted to be here from the very beginning, even before we got the number one pick,” Ainge said. “He wanted to be here. He came in here and showed it. He came on his workout and was sick. He was on antibiotics, nose was dripping and he didn’t complain. And he still played and played well. That was impressive, how much he showed, how much he wanted to be here.”
 
Tatum said his mindset coming into his workout was simple.
 
“I knew the draft pick was on the line,” Tatum said. “I had to really perform and I think I did really well.”