Ever since the trade nearly four years ago that brought Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and an entirely new identity to Boston, the Celtics have been all about teamwork. "Ubuntu," or togetherness, was the mission statement that guided the C's to Banner 17 in their first season post-rebuilding. They prepared together, they worked together, and they won together.
But if they want to engage in a little friendly intra-squad competition after hours? Sure, more power to them.
Paul Pierce threw down the gauntlet this week to Allen on Twitter, challenging him to a mano-y-mano battle to determine once and for all the team's best long-distance shooter.
"I think me and Ray Allen need to have a shootout in this year's 3-point contest," Pierce tweeted to his followers on Monday. "What y'all think? Come on, NBA, make it happen."
Indeed. This should happen. Nay — this absolutely must happen.
This year's All-Star weekend, held later this month at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, will be jam-packed with storylines, from the coming-out party of Blake Griffin to the star-studded East lineup including newcomers Derrick Rose and Amare Stoudemire. But it will also be a showcase of Celtics, with Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Rajon Rondo all likely to be included for the big game. The C's need their stage, and the Feb. 19 3-point shootout is the perfect setting to show off a couple of the game's best veterans.
Pierce needs to be included in the shootout. He's the defending champion, having held off Stephen Curry and Chauncey Billups in the final round to win last year's event in Dallas. He said last February that he wanted to prove his worth as a spot-up shooter, not merely a scorer, and he did just that with his impressive win. But now, it's time for an encore.
Allen must be in as well. He's closing in on Reggie Miller's all-time record for 3-pointers made in NBA history — Miller retired with 2,560 to his name, and as of this writing Allen is just eight away with 2,552. The record will likely fall before All-Star weekend later this month. The league needs to have Allen there for the shootout to celebrate his lifetime achievement.
Allen's also a past champion, to boot. He won the contest in 2001, as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, when he beat out Peja Stojakovic.
In 2011, both guys need to be back. They want it, Boston wants it, and America will love it. What's better than a friendly, but heated competition between two teammates?
Do you think the NBA should have Paul Pierce and Ray Allen square off in the 3-point contest? Share your thoughts below.