Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve seen that Ray Allen is extremely close to breaking the all-time NBA three-point record when the Celtics face the Lakers in Boston tonight. In fact, Allen only needs to make two treys to break Reggie Miller‘s career mark of 2,560. Yesterday, we got up with Ray for an exclusive Q&A to talk about the record, and how he’s become one of the NBA’s greatest shooters of all time.
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Dime: What’s the locker room been like while you’ve been chasing the record? We saw what happens on Halloween…
Ray Allen: (laughs) We haven’t really talked about it. I’ve had a few small conversations on the side with one or two guys, but it’s really been a side note. Tomorrow there will be more awareness around it.
Dime: Who from the team is clamoring to get the assist that breaks the record?
RA: That would be a question that you’d have to ask them. It’s a piece of history to be associated with. But with our team, it’s hard to dictate that. The way we play, the ball could come from anywhere.
Dime: Will this set the stage for another Three-Point Contest victory during All-Star Weekend? Have you been talking trash with Pierce?
RA: That’s the goal. I want to win it. Paul’s a great shooter, but he’s more of a scorer who can also shoot the ball well. The contest is all about rhythm, so we’ll see whoever goes on a roll.
Dime: Who can hang with you during shooting drills in practice?
RA: We have a bunch of shooters, and we all test each other pretty well, but I consistently win. Delonte West, Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, they can all shoot the ball.
Dime: We’ve talked at length before about your training regimen, but what do you have to do to maintain an elite level?
RA: You have to work twice as hard to keep your shape the way it is. When you’re younger, you can step up and shoot the ball and get the same lift every time. Now, you have to force yourself to jump higher and more. I’ve definitely noticed in the last three years that you have to keep the lift in your shot when you shoot it. Also, you have to treat a game day and a practice day the same. Some guys shoot different shots, but it’s all about repetitions where you get shots in the game.
Dime: How many shots did you put up today?
RA: I probably got up maybe 100 or 120 shots in each area. Today was all post-ups and mid-range, then I moved on to free throws and then threes.
Dime: Did you make enough to break the record?
RA: (laughs) Definitely enough.
Dime: As a shooter, you’ve always been well-known for your footwork. Walk us through what you do on the floor that makes you so effective.
RA: People always ask me how I get my shot off so quick, and I tell ’em it’s not about release, it’s all about the footwork. Everyone’s feet have to be planted before getting off the shot â€“ whether it’s a fadeaway or a set shot â€“ so getting my feet there quickly is what gives me the advantage.
Dime: Do you change your approach depending on who’s defending you?
RA: Nope. It doesn’t change. If you have to be quicker, if someone is guarding you tight, you still need to be able to get your feet prepared and ready â€“ you’ll just have less time to get your shot off.
Dime: Who has been the toughest defender you’ve faced in the League?
RA: It’s hard to say. Bruce Bowen has probably been one of the toughest defenders I’ve had. He’s a very swarming and hard-nosed defender. Right now, I’m not the primary scorer on the team, so I can be running around the whole court just so someone else gets the open look.
Dime: Do you think Kobe is worried about the record being broken against him? What’s their game plan?
RA: I believe the Lakers don’t want the record to happen as a team. Their plan is not to leave me open and find me in transition, so I can’t rely on being around the arc. I need to keep moving. If we can make several plays and get some steals, then that’s when the shots will start flying.
Dime: You spoke this week about wanting to retire a member of the Celtics. How much do you think breaking the record in Boston adds to your legacy?
RA: Well, it adds to the legacy, not just with the team, but each individual player that has played here in the history of the Celtics organization and won championships. It will definitely help me add to this legacy and to this team.
Dime: What shooters have you seen in the NBA that could one-day break your record?
RA: Stephen Curry shoots the ball real good, and he’s been in the League only a short amount of time. If he keeps it up and plays on good teams, he’s definitely capable. J.J. Redick is one of the better shooters too. He actually reminds me of myself out there.
Dime: So once the record is yours, where does your focus turn for the rest of the season?
RA: My focus is really trying to help this team get home-court advantage in the Finals. I wanna be celebrating another championship in June.
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