Ray Allen takes the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining in double OT.
The legs had no lift. The shot was flat. A three went up and down without hitting net or rim. His shooting stood at 4-of-14 at the end of regulation.
This was not Ray Allen's night.
Until, that is, the night was finished.
In what seemed like a microcosm of last season's playoffs, Allen endured the extreme high's and low's of the three-point shooter over the course of 58 minutes. Through four quarters, he didn't have it. But, if only to remind everyone that he is, as Paul Pierce called him, one of the greatest shooters of all time, Allen drained triples at the end of each of two overtimes, pushing the Celtics to a 111-109 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
The final, and go-ahead, trey, came mere seconds after one of the most unexpected airballs the Garden has seen. But it was Pierce with the ball in the waning seconds, and the Truth had the trust, kicking it out to Sugar Ray.
"I mean when you have one of the greatest shooters to play the game, it's a no-brainer," Pierce said. "I drew the defense, Ray was wide open -- regardless if he did airball the shot before that -- I have total confidence in him."
That confidence wasn't exclusive. In fact it was Eddie House, who dropped in a cool 18 off the bench, who helped get Allen (22 points, 5 threes) back into form.
"It was like for a second, I needed to kinda back away from it," Allen said. "I went out the game and clean slated it. Eddie was telling me obviously, I'm one of the best shooters."
"I told Ray, 'Don't worry man you're going knock it down,'" House said. "And he did exactly that. Shooters aren't afraid to take the next shot, always got confidence in [themselves]. Even when he had some air balls he came back and found himself. That's just a Hall of Fame player right there."
It's a simple story: great shooter turns a bad game into an all-time memory. Just like the pregame sermon was labeled in the Celtics locker room, "From Hero to Heel...", but the opposite. In two seasons, Pierce has been on the giving end of enough game-winning threes, has seen enough stories end with the same chapter, that he took praise to another level.
"His confidence is through the roof regardless if he's missed two, three, or four hundred shots in a row, he always feels like the next one is going to go in," Pierce said. "I'll proclaim Ray the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA that I've ever seen."
Wednesday was just a reminder that, for a shooter of Allen's stature, it's not about it being their night. It's just confidence. It's just shooting. That's all it is.