Historic Night May Be on Tap for Allen in Garden

WALTHAM, Mass. – Breaking a record is one thing, but doing it in the middle of one of the greatest rivalries in sports history makes it that much more special.

That’s exactly what Ray Allen has the opportunity to do when he enters Thursday night’s showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers trailing Reggie Miller’s all-time 3-pointers made mark by just one.

Allen sent home two 3-pointers on Monday night to up his career total to 2,559 and set up what could be a historic night on national television. Miller, who is currently a color commentator for TNT’s broadcasts, will be sitting courtside Thursday night for the big game.

Even before the two sharpshooters make it into the Garden for their pregame preparations, there’s no doubt that Miller can already feel Allen’s breath humming on his neck as he creeps up on the record. However, as Allen said at Wednesday’s practice, Miller has been nothing but encouraging during No. 20’s run at the record.

Ray Allen

Ray Allen set an NBA Finals record with eight 3-pointers made against the Lakers during Game 2 of the Finals last season.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Celtics

“The one thing I’ll say about Reggie is he’s been in my corner the last three, four years since I’ve been here,” Allen said. “I catch him in the hallways, catch him in the hotels, and he’s always been a great supporter of everything I’ve done. He’s taught me kinda how to be an even better person, be a humble [person] when great things happen to you.

“For him to not have any ego or animosity towards me because I’m breaking his record, he’s just… he wants to be in the building when it happens. And I’m glad; it’s like the stars have aligned because he’s able to be here.”

Miller, who hit 2,560 treys during his 18-year career in Indiana, caught up with NBA TV and chatted about Allen and the record this week. He continually noted his appreciation for Allen’s work ethic and how he has no issues with Boston’s shooting guard bumping him down to second place.

“Look, all records are made to be broken,” Miller said, “and a lot of people will say, ‘Aren’t you a little upset or hurt?’ Absolutely not.

“I hope there are young kids out there that are watching our network and ESPN, or whatever it may be, and they’re looking – obviously they’re going to see when the record goes down – but people have to understand how long and how hard Ray took this path to get to this record. The time in the gym, staying late. That’s what I appreciate about it, and that’s why I have no qualms with it at all.”

Qualms or no qualms, we know that this night has the potential to be one of the more historic ones a regular season has ever seen.

Having Miller not only in the building but calling the game is special, and so is the fact that Boston is closing out its season series with its longtime rival, the Lakers, who will be determined to show that they can compete with the C’s after being blown out in the teams’ first meeting of the season. To add to the intrigue, we all know that the Celtics and Lakers met in last season’s NBA Finals, and it will go down in history as one of the greatest series the league has ever witnessed.

With so many factors surrounding the game, Allen is beginning to realize how special Thursday night could be, and how many details will never be forgotten.

“So many people come into play because it’s the guy who’s announcing the game whose voice is going to be heard forever, and you’ve got the person who makes the pass, so I’m sure I’ll be getting the ball passed to me a lot tomorrow,” Allen said. “It definitely makes it special to be against the Lakers.”

Reporters asked Allen questions in a tone that essentially led to him imply that the record will, in fact, be broken tomorrow night against the Lakers. But don’t be fooled, Allen and the rest of the Celtics aren’t counting their chickens until they’re hatched. They know that nothing is a given, particularly against a team of the Lakers’ caliber.

During last year’s NBA Finals, Allen had one incredible shooting performance in which he set the Finals record for 3-pointers in a single game. He hit eight treys during Game 2 alone, helping Boston seal a victory on the road. Allen hit only four 3s in the other six Finals games combined, including four games in which he did not hit a single shot from downtown.

While it may not be a lock that the record will be broken Thursday night, the probability is pretty darn high. One way or another, if Allen totals two 3-pointers during his next three games, he will be able to eclipse the all-time mark in front of a crowd of green. Boston’s next three games are at home, and as he noted on Wednesday, that detail is particularly important to him.

“It just seems right, just being in this building, because so many people have followed me and have so much fan support,” he said. “It’s like, what place to be better than in the Garden? So I’m glad that I’m able to be here and have the opportunity to (break the record at home).”

There have been plenty of great sports moments in Boston’s history, including the Celtics’ 17th championship that was celebrated in the very same building less than three years ago. Despite being a part of many of those memorable moments, Allen isn’t quite sure how this one will feel when it finally comes to fruition in front of this passionate fan base.

“I was in a similar situation when I was in Seattle when I had the single-season 3-point record for shots made, 3s made, and the whole building came and they were waiting for it and it just kind of built up over the course of the game. So once it finally happened, the building erupted,” Allen said. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like in [the Garden].”

We’re not sure what it will be like either, but suffice to say if it happens Thursday night against the Lakers in the Garden, it will be a night NBA fans will remember forever.