When Ray Allen told the media he thinks defenses are keying on him more, I decided to take a closer look at his shots to see just how the Bulls did it. But what I found was, at least last night, Ray Allen got enough space to make shots… he just didn't.
Here's his first shot of the game.
He's already in his shooting motion with the defender a good 2 feet away from him. He didn't run off any more screens than usual. In fact, he got to that spot kind of easily and Rajon Rondo hit him with a nice, easy pass in stride to take the shot. He just missed it.
This is Ray's second sho of the game. Same deal. Not a lot of action to get open. He got the ball in stride. The shot is leaving his finger tips and there's still no defender in sight. He just missed.
And it went on like this. Of his first 8 shots, only 1 could be considered a "rushed" shot. The rest were all relatively clean looks… especially for Ray Allen. And now look at his first made 3:
This was in transistion on a kick out, but the defender has closed out pretty well on Ray. But he stepped into his shot nicely and drained it. His second 3 was a wide open shot off a pick. His 3rd 3 was tightly contested:
So here's the truth about what Ray Allen is going through:
Ray has not benefited from the best screens in the world. So while it might SEEM like guys are keying on him more, I'm betting when Ray sees defenders that weren't there in the past it's because the screens just aren't as good. That has affected his number of shots. He's had to give the ball up or he can't even get the ball at all.
That's dropped him into a funk. A. Sherrod Blakely was calling it his "seasonal slump" last night on Twitter, and he's right. Ray Allen has gone through these cold shooting slumps before. And that is pretty much what he's going through right now. Last night's 4-13 performance wasn't really a function of great D at all. It was cold Ray.
And that's OK. It's going to happen. When you hit 40% of your 3's over your career, you're going to miss 60% of them (how's that for deep analysis?). And the way Ray was shooting the 3 earlier this season was definitely unsustainable. He's come back to earth a little, but he'll bounce back.
I'd still love to see the Celtics, especially Jermaine O'Neal, set better screens for Ray. I think that will go a long way in getting him open, and hot again.