MIAMI Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen still has the ability to raise up at any time and drain a shot.
But the elevation may not be quite what he's used to, which may help explain why Allen's near-flawless shooting form has produced shots that are all over the map.
In Boston's Game 1 loss to Miami, Allen had six points while missing six of his seven shot attempts. He also misfired on four of his seven free throw attempts which brings his total number of missed free throws in the playoffs, to 12. That equals the number of missed free throws by Allen in the last two postseasons, combined.
For the playoffs, Allen is averaging 9.6 points while shooting just 39 percent from the field, and 26.8 percent on 3s - both playoff career lows.
Across the bench, Allen has a fellow bone spur victim in Udonis Haslem, who had to have his surgically removed in 2008.
Although he and Allen play two completely different positions, he sees many of the same physical struggles he had, now in Allen.
"I can tell he's a little banged up," Haslem told CSNNE.com. "It's difficult to be yourself."
Haslem said players who rely on their athleticism to be effective, bone spurs make simple things like running up and down the court physically tougher than usual.
"Just being athletic, is a lot harder," Haslem said.
As much attention as Allen gets for his sweet-looking stroke and form, Haslem says the elevation that Allen has - or rather, had - on his shots is often overlooked; that is, until you have to switch and try to defend, only to realize he's usually an inch or two higher on his release than you're outstretched hand.
That's where the bone spurs become a problem; a major problem, actually.
"He gets great elevation on his shot. It probably bothers him a little bit now, just raising up for his shot," Haslem said.
Raising up hasn't been the issue.
Making them has.
"The thing is I don't want to change my technique," Allen said. "I just have to continue to work on getting my lift.My technique has been solid for a very long time, and it's successful. Anybody who I know is a shooter, encourage them to shoot certain ways.So I'm never going to stop doing the way I prepare and how I shoot. It's just getting to it and just kind of you know, it's like I'm trying not to push myself in shooting and jumping higher, but I have to find a happy medium."