Updates from Wednesday, May 28
Brian Windhorst provided the latest information on Ray Allen's status for Game 5 vs. Indiana:
Chris Andersen (thigh) & Ray Allen (hip) did not take part in shootaround and are gametime decisions for Game 5 tonight.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 28, 2014
Less than one hour before the game, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post confirmed if Allen would play:
Chris Andersen inactive, Ray Allen active (thigh bruise for both). Rashard Lewis starts.— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) May 28, 2014
Miami Heat sharpshooting star Ray Allen has a bruised hip and thigh, which may render him unable to play in the team's Game 5 showdown in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.
Michael Wallace of ESPN.com reports Tuesday that Allen is questionable for Wednesday's game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Heat have the chance to close out Indiana and reach a fourth consecutive NBA Finals. The report noted that Allen suffered the bruise fighting through a screen in the second half of Monday's 102-90 victory in Game 4.
On Twitter, Wallace also reported that big man Chris Andersen, who didn't suit up for the previous contest, is also questionable to play:
Spoelstra says Chris Andersen (thigh bruise) is questionable, TBD if he travels to Indy. Ray Allen (hip) also questionable, but will travel— Michael Wallace (@WallaceNBA_ESPN) May 27, 2014
Allen, 38, is not quite the player he once was and has been relegated to the bench during his time with the Heat. However, that doesn't diminish his value, as he's proven to still be capable of lighting it up from beyond the arc and hitting clutch baskets.
In a Game 3 win that swung the series momentum in Miami's favor, the veteran nailed four three-pointers in the fourth quarter. That prompted ESPN personality Colin Cowherd to weigh in:
Ray Allen just keeps delivering in big games. Smart guy, takes care of his body, coachable and works on his craft daily. That's a pro.— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) May 25, 2014
It's encouraging that Allen is certain to at least make the road trip to Indianapolis, but given the advanced stage of his career, one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank amid another deep postseason run.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports logged what Allen had to say recently about retirement:
Do I want to get to the point where you tell me, "Look man, you ain't looking good out there"? Do you want to get to that point and people start saying that about you? When Barry Sanders retired, we were all like, "What?" He only played 10 years. We wanted him to play more. But he left on his terms, he was great. Ten was probably early. But you don't want to get to the point where you are on a downside and everybody's like, "You don't seem like you have it anymore."
No one on the Heat roster comes all that close to matching Allen as a perimeter shooter. He's a key cog in the team's offense, since their personnel lacks the size to pound the Pacers down low. Having a proven, clutch player like Allen on the floor is invaluable in a hostile, road environment. He can come through with cold-blooded threes at critical times and also manage the pressure of the high stakes in the conference finals as well as anyone from Miami's second unit.
If Allen can't go, the onus will be on the All-Star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh even more to shoulder the burden and get the job done. Given that they've won the past two NBA championships, they should be up to the task against a shaky, inconsistent Indiana squad. But with the Pacers in desperation mode, anything is possible, so Miami would do well to close them out as soon as possible.