Saturday, November 5, 2016


Remember that big shot Ray Allen hit for Miami to force a game 7 and eventually lead them to a championship?  What it you were told he'd practice that shot numerous times?  That great ones prepare for everything.

Spoelstra, of course, had heard stories about Allen. People called him "Everyday Ray" for a reason.

He was obsessive and then some about his basketball routines. He'd come to the gym early and often, repeating the same motions, the same routes over and over.

"Like a wide receiver," Spoelstra says.

But even still, Spoelstra couldn't believe what he saw during that first workout in September 2012, the week before Labor Day.

Spoelstra laughs about it now. Allen was laying on his back under the basket. When a Heat assistant coach blew the whistle, Allen would get up off his back, backpedal to the corner as if being chased, and somehow precisely place his feet in the slot between the 3-point arc and the out-of-bounds line with only inches to spare. All in one motion. All without looking down.
After all that, Allen would catch a pass and rise up for a 3-pointer.

"Pat [Riley] and I invented so many dumb drills over the years, but that," Spoelstra recalls, "that ... was a new one on us."

After watching the then-37-year-old do it dozens of times, Spoelstra stopped him.

"What on earth are you trying to accomplish here?"

Allen replied matter-of-factly.

"Offensive rebound, say I get knocked down after a layup and need to jump out for the corner 3," Allen told him. "Gotta get in the habit. You never know."

Allen performed that drill religiously for the ensuing weeks. And nine months after that September workout, Allen made perhaps the most famous clutch 3-pointer in NBA Finals history to force a Game 7.

Offensive rebound. Backpedal out to the corner 3. In one motion, without looking down. Bang.