We learned a few things while we all enjoyed ESPN and ABC’s quintuple header on Christmas with friends and family: the Lakers are back, the Clippers are legit, Houston seems to have found its legs, Oklahoma City still needs to figure out Miami, and LeBron James is unquestionably the league’s most dominant player right now. But we also saw Chicago and Brooklyn get whooped, and that former game featured one of Chicago’s former players, Omer Asik, dominating it on the boards and in the paint. Besides Asik’s big night in Chicago’s United Center, who else has gone off when they were going against their old team this season?
Here are five of our most noteworthy choices, and remember, we’ve only played less than a third of the season so far, so there are plenty more opportunities for revenge games.
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5. Ray Allen: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat October 30, 2012
Allen’s departure to South Beach, or more accurately, downtown Miami (and off the strip of overpriced Mojitos along Ocean Drive), was one of the bigger stories last summer. Kevin Garnett lobbed the first grenade when he claimed to have lost Allen’s number, implicitly relegating Allen’s time in Boston to that of an also-ran. But regardless of Paul Pierce, KG and more accurately, Rajon Rondo‘s distaste for Allen that led to his fleeing South for less money, it’s hard to ignore the absence of the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shooter. Allen has fit in well in Miami’s spread the floor small-ball lineup, and he’s had plenty of opportunities in the wake of LeBron and Wade’s individual brilliance.
In the season’s opening game, Allen faced his former team in Miami’s American Airlines Arena, and he came correct. In just over 30 minutes of action, Allen was 5-7 from the field and 3-4 from long range, scoring 19 points dishing two assists and grabbing two boards. Even though his stat line doesn’t wow anyone, his presence alone had Boston thinking twice about leaving him alone on the wing to help on ‘Bron and Wade, and the defending champions easily handled the Celtics in their home opener, 120-107. So far this season the change of scenery has helped Allen achieve career highs in field goal percentage, 49 percent, and three-point field goal percentage, 45.8 percent. The rich just keep getting richer it seems, and you can be sure Allen will be instrumental in the Heat repeating as champions.