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

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

BOSTON — For most of Friday night’s game, the Boston Celtics played the kind of game that on most nights would result in a victory. 

But Toronto is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with talent, depth and an undeniable desire to win at all costs. 

One strong quarter by the Raptors was just enough to put away the Celtics, 101-94. 

And it came in the third when Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 which turned out to be the only quarter the Raptors (16-7) outscored the Celtics. 

“They got hot; made some tough shots,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The tough shots kind of hurt us.”

The tough shots and a flawless 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. 

While it’s a 48-minute game, there was no getting around the fact that it was Toronto’s dominance in the third that ultimately determined the game’s outcome. 

“If you look at it from our perspective it’s what went wrong; if you look at it from theirs, they ratcheted up the defense quite a bit (in the third quarter),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard for us to break their … break their wall of defense.”

In the third quarter, Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3’s and a woeful 5-for-10 from the free throw line. 

“We started making everything difficult for them and not letting them get that easy in and try to take advantage of that,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry

The Celtics had no answer for the All-Star point guard who led all players with 34 points, 21 of which came in the second half. 

Avery Bradley

Bradley was the lone Celtics starter who seemed to be in a good shooting flow, tallying 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included five made 3’s. 

DeMar DeRozan

The Celtics made him work a lot harder than he usually does to score, but he still managed to tally 24 points – just four points below his season average – on 9-for-25 shooting.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

He made a few more turnovers than usual, but Horford still put together a relatively balanced performance. He had 19 points and seven rebounds with six assists and a blocked shot. 

Norman Powell

The X-factor in Friday’s outcome had to be Powell. A 5.8 points per game scorer this season, Powell had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with a game-high five steals. 

 

DUDS

Jae Crowder

With Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, the Celtics really needed its core starters to step up and have a productive night offensively. Crowder just didn’t have it going on Friday, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting which included a number of 3s that rimmed in and out on him.