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Its A Shame About Ray

pumped.jpgRay Allen is one of my favorite players on the team.  He's a class act all the way.  He's a veteran leader that the younger players have naturally gravitated to.  He's proven his worth over the course of a fantastic career and established himself as one of the greatest shooters of all time.  And all of that is what makes it so difficult to watch him struggle. 

Nothing could have concerned me more than that air-ball that Ray Allen put up in the first quarter.  He was wide open.  He had time to plant his feet, take aim, and follow through with the same motion that he's taken 1 billion times in his life.  But few of those billion shots ever missed that badly. 

I'm glad he took the ball to the rim for some layups and a fun dunk.  We always hear announcers saying how a guy just needs a basket or a couple of foul shots to get his rhythm back.  So far, not so good.   

The fact that we have gotten this far without much of a contribution from him is astounding.  Sure, he's contributed in other ways.  He's never stopped working within the team defensive sets.  He had 4 assists, 2 steals and one big drawn charge.  But those are the extras in his game, the icing on the cake.  The substance of his game is hitting daggers that send the other team reeling.  He's a cold blooded sniper.  Yet lately he's just been cold.

I'm sick of talking about it really, but I can't avoid the subject either.  He's supposed to be the 3rd most important player on this team.  He's supposed to pick up the slack when the other two can't find their rhythm. 

Shooters are somewhat streaky by nature, but Ray was never far from a scoring burst in his life.  Now, I think I'd rather have Rondo taking a big shot at the end of a game than Ray Allen.  Who would have taken that thought seriously 5 months ago?  Or even 2 months ago?

You can feel the crowd rooting for him to just make that first shot.  All we need is one to drop and the roof will be blown off the stadium.  It is so palpable you can reach out and touch it.  Part of it is just because he's our guy and we want him to get this monkey of a slump off his back.  Part of it is a little more greedy. 

We know that if and when he hits that first shot, it will be followed with another, then another, then another.  He's like a great hitter in an early season slump.  You know he's going to get his average up to normal levels, and that means a hot streak to match and exceed the cold one. 

We've gotten this far without much from him.  How far can he take us when he is on?  All it is going to take is that first shot.

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