Allen revered by his sharpshooting peers

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Allen revered by his sharpshooting peers

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Ray Allen is now the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, a record that we've been counting down to for weeks.

It was fitting that when he did it, the former record holder, Indiana great Reggie Miller, was at the TD Garden to witness it.

But as both Allen and Miller understand all too well, every record achieved will be surpassed sooner or later.

And when you look at the NBA's all-time leaders in 3-pointers made, several are current players who have already taken up residence in the top 10.

CSNNE.com had a chance to catch up with all five of the current players trailing Allen who are ranked in the top-10.

Dallas guard Jason Kidd (No. 3 all-time; 1,748 made 3s)

Kidd's inclusion in the top 10 list is arguably the biggest shock among the players in the top-10.

Coming out of Cal-Berkeley, few envisioned Kidd developing into a decent jump-shooter, let alone one a player who will finish his career among the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history.

"That would probably be a good trivia question," Kidd told CSNNE.com. "My name would probably never be mentioned."

He's right.

Kidd's success as a 3-pointer came about with hours spent working on that particular shot.

Because the knock on him for years has been his inability to shoot from the perimeter, many of Kidd's 3-pointers have been uncontested.

"I've had a lot of opportunities because I've been open," Kidd said. "The knock on me when I got to the NBA was that I couldn't shoot. So I went to work right away trying to improve that part of my game. I think I've done OK."

Dallas forward Peja Stojakovic (No. 4, 1,719 3s)

The newest member of the Dallas Mavericks, Stojakovic has been among the NBA's top 3-point shooters for a number of years.

A three-time All-star, Stojakovic has finished in the top-10 in 3-point attempts four times, and twice in the top-10 in 3-point shooting percentage.

The 33-year-old Stojakovic has always been taller than most of his colleagues as a youth, but he was fortunate to not have been asked to play in the frontcourt.

"I had coaches who recognized I could shoot the ball well, and they never tried to make me play in the post," Stojakovic told CSNNE.com.

And while Stojakovic says there are a number of great 3-point shooters in the NBA, Allen stands out for several reasons.

"Ray is an unbelievable shooter," Stojakovic said. "His form, release, everything is perfect. You can see he's so focused when he shoots. It doesn't really matter what the defense is doing."

And while Stojakovic may appear to be within striking distance of Allen, he's not banking on being in position to pass Allen anytime soon.

"It would be nice, but it's not something I think about; I don't think it's something most of the better shooters think about really," he said. "But it would be nice."

Denver guard Chauncey Billups (No. 6, 1,685 made 3s)

Billups, also known as 'Big Shot' Billups, is known for delivering game-changing shots in the closing minutes of games.

And more often than not, it's a 3-pointer.

"That is a big part of my game, obviously," Billups told CSNNE.com this summer. "But it's like anything; you can't go to it too much. It has to be part of your game, not your whole game."

Early in his career, Billups struggled to find his niche in the league as he bounced around from one team to another.

Once he arrived in Detroit prior to the 2002-2003 season, that was when he started to develop the reputation of being a clutch shooter - especially from 3-point range.

"There's a lot of great shooters in this league that I've played against," he said. "Reggie Miller and Ray Allen are the ones you think of right away."

As important as the 3-point shot has been to Billups' career, that's not necessarily what he wants to be remembered for.

"A winner," said Billups, who was named the 2004 NBA Finals MVP after leading the Pistons to the franchise's third NBA title. "That's the only reason I play; to win. All that other stuff is cool, don't get me wrong. But me, you know me I'll take winning over all that other stuff."

Washington forward Rashard Lewis (No. 7, 1,667 made 3s)

If there was a player who would fall under the category of a Ray Allen disciple, Rashard Lewis is that guy.

The 6-foot-10 forward spent four-plus seasons with Allen in Seattle, and the two have remained close ever since.

"Ray has been great to me," Lewis told CSNNE.com.

The biggest lesson he says he has learned from Allen has nothing to do with shooting the ball.

"His preparation," Lewis said, "is second to none. That's something that I really picked up from him that, if you want to be a great player in this league, you have to work at your game and never be satisfied."

As far as breaking Allen's record someday, Lewis said, "I don't know about that. He's got to retire first. Looking at him and the way he's playing and the way he's moving now, who knows when he'll retire."

Dallas guard Jason Terry (No. 8, 1,593 made 3s)

Known for his speed, Terry has meshed lightning-quick speed with the ability to knock down long range shots.

"For me, it stretches the defense," Terry told CSNNE.com. "I've always been a guy that, even in transition on the break, I'll spot up for 3. Guys just tend to forget about you, especially in transition. They like to go to the basket. You're always taught, 'go to the basket. protect the paint.' That's what guys like myself, Ray Allen, even Dirk in that trail position, get good looks at 3s."

And like the guys ahead of him on the all-time top-10 list, he too sees Allen as a living legend when it comes to 3-point shooting.

"Obviously, we know who the pioneer was for our era; it was Reggie Miller," Terry said. "He set the bar. And now Ray Allen has raised that bar. His longevity, the way he has been able to do it, and for how long he's been doing it for, I want to continue to do that. Once he leaves, hopefully I'll just slide right on in."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate

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Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, a good friend of Brad Stevens, is out in Indiana.

Pacers president Larry Bird made the official announcement on Thursday.

Vogel’s contract was up in Indiana and Bird elected to not renew it. That, according to Bird, was hard for Vogel to hear.

Both Bird and Vogel spoke shortly before Bird’s press conference with members of the media, and that’s when Bird gave him the news.

There is speculation now as to who will take over as head coach. With Kevin McHale removing himself from consideration for the Sacramento Kings job, there was some thought that he could become the head coach of the Pacers under good friend and former teammate Bird.

That isn’t going to happen either.

Which players fill Celtics Top 5 draft needs?

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Which players fill Celtics Top 5 draft needs?

BOSTON – When it comes to the NBA Draft, nobody has the flexibility to address a need the way the Celtics can this year.
 
If you are a draft-eligible player expected to be among the 60 names called next month, you are within the Celtics’ reach of being drafted.
 
That’s what having eight draft picks (three in the first round and five in the second) can do for you.
 
And while the Celtics have lots of needs, here’s a look at five specifically that they can address through the draft, and the best players to fill those voids.
 
5. Undervalued talent: Marquese Chriss
Getting players whose talent exceeds where they are drafted is certainly something the Celtics would love to do in a year when they have so many picks. Marquese Chriss of Washington could be that player. He’s a 6-9 forward who in this small-ball era in the NBA, can play both forward positions and have a matchup advantage at both spots. He’s targeted to be selected in the middle of the first round which makes him a prime target of the Celtics who could tab him with their second, first-round selection which will be the 16th overall pick.
 
 
4. Rim Protection
You have to give the Celtics props for having a defense that ranked 4th in the NBA despite no legit rim protector other than 6-9 Amir Johnson. As good as Johnson was, the Celtics need to add at least another player or two with rim protection as their strength. Enter Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis. He’s limited offensively in terms of what he can do, but his knack for blocking/altering shots, lateral quickness, vertical leap and overall strength makes him a force in the middle. He too is a player Boston has to give some thought to selecting if he’s still on the board (he’s considered a possible late-lottery pick) when it’s time for the Celtics to choose at No. 16.
 
 
3. Defensive versatility
One of the reasons Boston’s defense was so good this season was because of its ability to make defensive switches and it not create huge mismatches. Having players with the talent and skill to defend multiple positions will remain something the Celtics will also value on draft night. That’s why Jaylen Brown of Cal could be in the mix depending on where the pick Boston gets from Brooklyn, eventually falls. If it’s outside of the top-4, Brown becomes a viable possibility. He gets props for his strength and ability to use it as a means of scoring. But NBA teams are just as excited about his potential as a defender, already possessing an NBA-ready body with the tools to potentially defend all three perimeter positions.
 
2. Wing scoring
The Celtics ranked 11th in 3-pointers taken per game (26.1) but only 28th in 3-point percentage (.335) which shows that they were getting plenty of long-range shots but unable to make them with any consistency. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield could change all that. He was hands-down the best shooter in college basketball this past season. And with him being a senior, he’s more likely to come in and make an immediate impact than many of his younger draft brethren who are judged more on potential than proven work. If the Celtics wind up with a top-3 pick, Hield would be a bit of a stretch. But if Boston is on the clock with the No. 4, 5 or 6th pick, he should be on their short list of possible targets.
 
 
1. Superstar potential
The best shot Boston has of landing that superstar they’ve longed for, is to land the top overall pick. And with that pick, there’s a growing consensus that Duke’s Brandon Ingram should be that guy rather than LSU’s Ben Simmons. Ingram has a game that in many ways is reminiscent to a young Kevin Durant. But at this stage, Ingram is a better 3-point shooter (he shot 41 percent on 3s in his lone season at Duke) which is one of the many areas Boston could use a boost through the draft.
 
 

Ainge: McHale's clothesline on Rambis was 'sweet'

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Ainge: McHale's clothesline on Rambis was 'sweet'

If you know anything about basketball in the 1980s and early 1990s, you know it was a physical game. And in the playoffs, that physicality multiplied.

The Boston Celtics were no exception to that. There are countless highlights of Celtics players getting into it with their opponents, but perhaps the most famous incident was when Kevin McHale clothelined the Lakers' Kurt Rambis in Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was a member of that team, and discussed that play on Thursday morning with the guys from the Toucher and Rich Show.

“I remember that we were at shootaround the morning of the Kevin McHale / Kurt Rambis clothesline incident,” Ainge said. “They had just beat us by 30 . . . it was Hollywood showtime Lakers all the way and we were humiliated. We came to practice the next day and we had some guys chirping about that, like, ‘We have to take some hard fouls. We cannot let these guys fast break over us and dunk on us in transition. We have to take some hard fouls.’ And I said to the whole team, I like screamed at them, I said, ‘Hey listen, I’m booed in every arena in this league because I’m the only guy who takes hard fouls. I need some of you guys to take some hard fouls. And sure enough Kevin clothelined Kurt Rambis and that was sweet.”