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Defeated By The Lakers: How Ray Allen's Record Night Caused The Celtics Loss

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics breaks the all time 3-point shot record with this three pointer as Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends on February 10, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Buckus ToothnailContributor IIIFebruary 11, 2011

Playing against the Los Angeles Lakers at the TD Garden, Boston Celtics All-Star guard Ray Allen made the 2,561st three-pointer of his career, breaking the all-time NBA record previously held by former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller, who was present to witness it as a commentator for TNT.

While his first three-point attempt of the night went in, sending the Boston crowd into a frenzy and tying Miller's old record, Allen needed three more shots to make his record breaker. 

After the emotional basket, Allen went on to make only one out of his next four three-point attempts.

And the Celtics, who carried an eight-point lead going into halftime, came out flat in third quarter, being outscored by the Lakers by 12 points in the quarter and losing their lead, which at one time was as high at 15 points.

The Celtics were marginally better in the fourth quarter, where they came within three points of the Laker lead, but simply could not find their shot to bring them over.

Another issue was their defense.  For a team that prides itself as being one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Celtics were beaten at their own game by the Lakers tonight.

So why did Boston play such a subpar game, by their standards, especially after a disappointing loss to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats a few nights before?

Surely they must have recognized the importance of this game, being the final time they will play the Lakers before a potential NBA Finals rematch.

After winning their previous matchup convincingly at the Staples Center on Jan. 31, Boston would have gained a strong mental advantage if they were able to sweep the Lakers in the regular season.

The Lakers, who have faced their own issues this season including mounting questions about their defense and their will to win, would have been further crushed with another loss tonight.

They have already been the subject of growing trade speculation, with even their GM, Mitch Kupchak, admitting that they may need to make some moves prior to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

However, with their win against the Celtics on Boston's home floor, the Lakers now have renewed confidence in their team, which they will surely carry toward the rest of the season.

Could it be that the Celtics were too focused on getting Allen his three-point record, and then forgot their game plan afterwards?

It appears so.  It's rare to see the Celtics that unfocused on the defensive end and miss so many easy shots in the paint. 

More tellingly is that the Lakers actually out-rebounded the Celtics 47-36, reminiscent of Game 7 in last year's finals, in which the Lakers' superior rebounding was a major reason for them winning the Championship.

While Allen's three-point record is to be commended, individual achievements should never be placed as high a priority as the team's. 

Instead of letting Allen's potential record-breaking night distract them, the Celtics should have focused on one thing and one thing only: Beat the Lakers.

The Celtics' next test is a home game against the Miami Heat today.  As a result of the loss to the Lakers, the Heat are now a half-game ahead of the Celtics for the lead in the Eastern Conference standings.

Let's see if Boston can get their game back together and beat Miami for the third time this season.  It's more than just bragging rights at stake now or shaking the opponent's confidence as since Miami defeated the Detriot Pistons earlier, they now have sole ownership of the East lead.

Beating the Heat would mean Boston regains the lead, while losing would mean Miami pulls 1 1/2 games ahead of the Celtics.  Given how deep they are in the season, Boston does not want to risk not owning home court advantage in the East, and having to face a No. 3 seeded Chicago Bulls in the second round if they drop to second place.

Given that Allen's record breaking night is behind them, let's see if the Celtics can get back on track and do what they do best, which is to play team ball and setting aside individual glories.

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