When it comes to the annual 3-point shootout at the NBA's All-Star weekend, there's no savvier veteran than Ray Allen. The Celtics' 35-year-old shooting guard has been around the block more than a few times, so he knows what to expect.
Saturday night in Los Angeles, he'll take part in his sixth contest, in search of his second win. He's confident, he's composed and he's ready.
"My first one, I guess I was probably more worried about what to expect," he said. "But now I'm just laid back, period."
Allen, who won the event for the first time in 2001, has been going up against the game's best pure shooters throughout the last decade. He's taken on Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas and Chauncey Billups.
Oh, and teammate Paul Pierce, who is itching to get another crack at the NBA's all-time record holder on Saturday night.
"Paul's been talking all week," Allen said. "If you asked Paul, he'll tell you that when I won, it was 10 years ago, and everything's changed since then. I'm the dinosaur in the game, so I don't stand a chance. I don't know the formula now. But it's just shooting."
All of Allen's teammates are steering clear of picking a winner, saying simply that they're pulling for him and Pierce. They're rooting for an all-green final round. But the four other competitors in this year's event — Kevin Durant, James Jones, Daniel Gibson and Dorell Wright — are sure to put up a fight. Allen respects them all.
"James Jones is one of the best shooters in the league, obviously Paul is, and Gibson, he's been a dead-eye shooter too," Allen said. "So you can go in any direction. It's not like because I have the 3-point record, or because Paul won last year, it doesn't mean that we're guaranteed to win it. We've proven that we can win on that stage, but between those guys, they all have ice in their veins. They can all knock down shots on the big stage."
The oddsmakers all have Allen as the favorite, generally at around 2:1, followed by Pierce and Durant. But the C's star isn't putting much stock in that.
"Vegas?" he asked. "What do they know?"