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2010 NBA Finals: What Happened To Ray Allen's Hot Hand in Game 3?

Ros DumlaoCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06:  Rasheed Wallace #30 and Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics stand near the side line in the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

You'd think Ray Allen would have the most momentum going into Game 3 of the NBA Finals after his historic performance in his last outing. 

In Game 2, he set an NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers, was the leading scorer with 32 points, and his Celtics team stunned the Lakers in front of Hollywood celebrities.

The Celtics hauled the Lakers to the other side of the continent, had the home-court advantage, and by the motivational words of Paul Pierce, the Celtics had canceled their plane ticket to L.A. 

All this going into Game 3, and Allen had one of the worst plunges in his 14-year career, going 0-13 from the field. 

Tuesday night's Ray Allen wasn't the same Ray Allen people saw, or expected, from Sunday night. 

So who dumped the water on Allen in Game 3? 

Cooling Factor No. 1—Derek Fisher

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What can't this 35-year-old do?

We saw it on Tuesday night.

Offensively, Fisher saved the game for the Lakers with his offensive spark late in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 for 16 when Kobe Bryant was being covered with green jerseys. 

The bigger key was Fisher's defense on Allen. You've got to give credit to Fisher; he came in contact with Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis' sweaty bodies more than the other Celtics as he was fighting through the big guys' screens. 

If Allen had even the slightest time to set up, he would most likely have made his shots. 

Fisher stuck with Allen through the screens, minimizing the separation that Allen would need to hit even his easiest shots. 

Cooling Factor No. 2—Lakers Adjusting on Defense

You can bet that Ray Allen's name was on the Lakers' dry-erase board in the locker rooms after he shut down the Lakers in Game 2. 

Though Fisher had the one-on-one defense going for him against Allen, the Lakers helped Fisher out. 

The Lakers were quicker on their rotations off the Celtics' screens and closed out faster on Allen then they did before. 

Whenever the Celtics set up Allen on the weak-side wing, the Lakers were fully aware of his presence there. 

It's rare to see Allen's shots blocked. But we saw that from Pau Gasol in the first half and Ron Artest in the second.

Cooling Factor No. 3—Allen Without a Team

Giving Allen good looks requires setting good screens for him, and Allen didn't get much help from his teammates there.

When his shots weren't falling for him in the first half, and his team struggled to rally in the second, the Celtics resorted to giving their go-to guy the ball, hoping he could still catch on fire.

But the Lakers stuck to playing tight defense, causing the Celtics to set wimpy screens for Allen and even took away on and off-ball screens. Not only did the Lakers help themselves by picking up their D, but it also helped that the Celtics were pushing for a late rally in the second half and struggling to get shots in.

Take Kevin Garnett's dinky screen for Allen in the third quarter. Fisher fights through it, forcing Allen to take the back-door cut and settle for a close-range shot and miss. 

Offensively, we only saw the Big One rather than the Big Three. KG had a team high 25 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Pierce had 15 points and picked up five fouls. It would've been a series for Rajon Rando if he could pull a second straight triple-double, but that performance wasn't even close in Game 3.

Cooling Factor No. 4—Allen Without a Rhythm 

Allen didn't have his swag on, and thus, his shots weren't falling for him.

He seemed to find his rhythm for missing, unfortunately. 

The confounding story is why, or how, this happened right after he set a record-breaking night on Sunday (I answered parts of this question earlier). 

It appears like a series of unfortunate events for Allen. 

"The game doesn't owe anything to anybody," Allen said. "You've got to work offensively. Every game, every day you have to go out and find your rhythm and make your shots."

He couldn't find his rhythm that night.

Cooling Factor No. 5—Allen Without Confidence

Maybe one field goal would've made a difference (Yes, he did make two, which were free throws, but those apparently weren't satisfying enough).

Allen's attempts in the first half teased Celtics fans into getting off their seats with their arms raised, but then sitting back down disappointed. 

Frustrating for fans, yes. More frustrating for Allen, of course.

He wasn't draining his shots as confidently on Tuesday night as he had in Game 2, or in any other game. The look on his face, that downward smirk, said it all.

For someone known as the all-time best three-point shooter in the league (making over 50 percent of his shots), Allen just had one of his worst offensive performances in his career. 

It will be interesting how he responds in Game 4.

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