MIAMI (Reuters) - Ray Allen has made more three pointers than any player in the NBA but with five seconds left and his team three points down on Tuesday, he had not made a single one in the crucial Game Six of the NBA Finals.
Miami’s only hope of keeping their series with San Antonio, and their season, alive was to make a basket from beyond the three point line and LeBron James tried his luck.
The ball bounced out off the backboard, Chris Bosh grabbed it and zipped it to Allen, who with his trademark nonchalance effortlessly made the shot and forced the game into overtime.
“When I saw CB get the ball, I just back pedaled right to the three-point line and I was hoping I was where I needed to be. But I wasn’t quite sure,” said the 37-year-old Allen.
”But just from years of shooting, I got to my spot. It is going to be a shot that I am going to remember for a long time.
“There are a lot of shots that I have made in my career but this will go high up in the ranks because of that situation,” he added.
Allen’s modesty led him to acknowledge that the Heat had survived with their 103-100 overtime victory to force a Game Seven with some good fortune.
“I’ve known my whole career that sometimes you just get lucky. When you win championships, it involves a little luck. That right there was luck shining on our side,” he said.
After Bosh grabbed the rebound, James screamed at him for a second chance but not surprisingly was cool about the decision to pass to Allen.
“If it’s not me taking the shot, I have no problem with Ray taking that shot. He’s got ice water in his veins,” James said.
”Ray can be 0-99 in a game and if he gets an open look late in the game, it’s going down.
”That’s just the confidence he has in himself. It is the way he prepares for every game and the belief we have in him. We have seen it before.
“We are happy to have him on our side and this is the reason why we wanted him in games like this.”
The game will go down as one of the finest in the NBA Finals and James said it was certainly the greatest he had been involved in.
”It was by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of. The ups and downs, the roller coaster, the emotions, good and bad through the whole game.
”I‘m happy about the way we dug down were able to get a win. It didn’t look like we could muster it up at some points in the game.
In the latter stages of the play-offs Miami have been unable to find the consistency that was the hallmark of their regular season, where they won 27 games in one stretch, but James was unperturbed by that criticism.
“I really don’t care how the hell we have played so far,” he said.
”We could have played the six worst games of our lives but now we have got Game Seven on our floor.
“Thursday is all for the marbles”.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury