One of the many storylines surrounding the Celtics' Friday night tilt with the Dallas Mavericks was Ray Allen's continued pursuit of the all-time 3-point shooting record, with Reggie Miller and history within his reach.
But meanwhile, there was an awful lot of pregame chatter surrounding another esteemed guard in NBA history, who happened to sit right behind Allen on the all-time treys list. Somewhat surprisingly, that would be the Mavs' Jason Kidd.
Allen entered the night with 2,552 career 3-pointers to his name, in second place all-time, eight away from tying Miller. Kidd was in third, at 1,740. Ask the average fan on the street to name that No. 3 guy, though, and they'd probably be stumped. Whoever knew that Jason Kidd could knock down a jumper?
File under "obvious foreshadowing."
Allen made three 3's in the second half, including one with 3:19 to play in the ballgame that gave the Celtics a relatively sturdy lead at 95-89. But in the end, it wasn't Allen's shooting that ruled the night — it was Kidd's. Dallas' creaky 37-year-old made the shot of the night with 2.5 seconds to play, giving his Mavs a 99-97 lead and paving the way for a shocking victory on the Celtics' home floor.
"A little bit ironic, isn't it?" Allen said.
Both coaches, Boston's Doc Rivers and Dallas' Rick Carlisle, were asked pregame about Kidd and his prolific shooting career. Both coaches had plenty of nice words for his longevity, his work ethic and his evolution as a shooter over his 17-year career.
But to see Kidd steal the show from Allen was something else altogether.
Allen knocked down two three-pointers in the third quarter, keeping the Celtics in the ballgame and moving to within six of Miller's all-time record. Then he connected with the fourth-quarter dagger — five away from the Pacer legend, and one step closer to burying the Mavs.
But with 15.3 seconds to play and the Mavs down one, they had one last shot. And with Dirk Nowitzki unable to find his open shot, he swung the ball back to his point guard Kidd, who stood at the top of the key with an open look for the win. He planted his feet, waited, beat Allen with a pump fake, and hit the biggest shot of the night.
Kidd's been earning the respect of his peers for 17 years. But that shot got him a whole lot more.
"Jason Kidd is very underrated at shooting the three," Allen said. "He's proven over his career that he can knock the three-ball down, but for most of his career, he hasn't been given the credit for being able to shoot, because he's had to do so many other things well. He was flashy, but he was very effective. A great passer, and one of the great point guards of all time. The only way he's been able to stay around as long as he's been around was to develop a jump shot. Now he's developed it, and it was in form today. It beat us today."
"J-Kidd, if you look at his track record, he's hit big shots and put good teams on his back," Kevin Garnett added. "He's carried that responsibility for a long time. He's a respected player. I think everybody in our organization and in our locker room respects that dude. He's been around a long time, and you don't just be around 'just because.' He's hit big shots for them time after time."
That's Jason Kidd — the most underrated player ever to hit 1,742 3-pointers in NBA history. The Celtics have all the respect in the world for him, but they wish they could have that 1,742nd one back.
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