Ray ‘Curtains’ Allen has done it again.
For a third consecutive game, the Miami Heat found themselves in need of a bailout from the most prolific shooter in NBA history. Going against a depleted San Antonio Spurs team, the Heat found themselves lacking any sort of motivation to play great basketball for consistent stretches. Instead, the fans at the American Airlines Arena were treated to a close game that featured over 20 lead changes and a disturbing lack of effort from their team.
The Heat came out firing with a 16-6 lead early on, but little of that momentum was used throughout the game as the team ended up facing a 92-85 deficit with 4:48 remaining and a 98-93 deficit with 2:14 remaining. Nando de Colo and Gary Neal both appeared to hit back-breaking three-pointers, but only inspired the Heat a little more to actually give an effort.
Over the course of the final two minutes, the Heat would go on a 7-0 run that was capped off by Ray Allen hitting a three-pointer with 22.6 remaining to give the Heat a 100-98 lead. On the ensuing Spurs inbound, LeBron James and Mario Chalmers would force Neal into a turnover. James would hit 1-of-2 from the line, which was followed by a pair of Tiago Splitter free throws to cut the Heat lead to one.
Naturally, it was Ray Allen who would calmly step to the line and make both of his free throws. Neal would then miss a potential game-tying three on the other end. Dwyane Wade would seal the game with a pair of free throws to end the game with the Heat victorious 105-100.
Allen finished with 20 points on 15 shots in 27 minutes. His only three-pointer of the night was the dagger three that gave the Heat the lead for good.
How many times has Allen bailed out the Heat this season with his shooting prowess and ability to get open? He hit the game-winner against Denver, had a tie-breaking jumper against Atlanta with 1:22 left in the fourth, hit a three-pointer against Houston that kept the Heat alive late in the fourth, hit a dagger three-pointer against Milwaukee in overtime, had the final seven points for the Heat in their two-point win over Cleveland, and now this.
All of those games could have easily been potential losses if not for the clutch shooting of Allen. He is bailing the Heat out of a lot of games they should be winning with ease, yet are on the brink of losing. Thankfully for the Heat, the combination of LeBron’s passing and Allen’s shooting has led the Heat to an 11-3 record and a 7-0 mark at home.