I decided to write this article after watching the ESPN highlight of the night for the Heat-Pacers game, and I happened to notice one of the sports center anchors draw a comparison of Ray Allen's four, clutch fourth quarter threes, to those of the legendary BB. Yes. Bruce Bowen. The fact that he could even think to draw comparison to such defensive prowess is in itself unwarranted, but the co anchor took it a step further and took the comparison as a slight to Ray Allen's game.
Now, granted, Mr. Bowtie himself may not have averaged 20 points per game over 16 NBA seasons, nor did he ever make an appearance in one of the 10 all star games sir Jesus Shuttlesworth had the pleasure of attending. Okay he never even shot better than 65% from the free throw line. He was, however, elected to 8 all defensive teams (5 first team 3 second). He also made a career out of his defense, and the corner three.
I found the comparison quite compelling because I did notice that Ray Allen's three point prosperity for the fourth quarter of game 3 was exclusively tucked in the corner. So I decided to pull up some statistics.
I decided to compare Ray Allen's current playoff stretch with a similar sample size and decided to use Bruce's final championship run in 2007.
Bruce Bowen 2006/2007 NBA Playoffs per game stats.
6.5 ppg 4.1 rpg and most importantly 40% shooting from the field with more than half his shots coming from behind the arc where he made it at a 45% rate.
Ray Allen 2013/2014 NBA Playoffs per game stats
9.1 ppg 3.8 rpg and 43% shooting from the field and 39% from 3 pt range where he also shot more than half of his total fga from 3.Ray Allen current 2013/2014 NBA Playoffs per game stats.
I also noticed while watching the game that while Ray Allen was in the game he brought additional defensive intensity so I looked on the on/off court opponent fg%. This is where Ray Ray should take the comparison and run with it.
The heat have been extremely productive defensively while Allen is on the court, holding opponents to under 48% while they get lit up for 55% while he's off. The on court numbers are similar to the on court numbers of Bruce Bowen whose lineups produced a defensive fg% of 47%, but the spurs were disciplined and in the rare time that he was off the court (he averaged 35 mpg whereas Ray comes off the bench for just under 25 mpg) the defense hardly slipped.
So even though Bruce and Ray may have battled each other in the playoffs, and may have rubbed each other the wrong way (kicks to the back in particular). But maybe Ray can learn to appreciate that old man game that use to match up opposite him, nagging him on the defensive side of the ball, while hiding in waiting as a deadly threat from deep on the offensive side. Let's just hope he decides not to camp in any corners in the next round. Too soon?