He hugged , right after breaking Miller’s career 3-point record. He hugged his coach, , and the assistant . He hugged Miller again. He hugged his mom, Flo Allen-Hopson. He hugged his wife, Shannon. He hugged his teammates.
Everyone else at the TD Garden just stood and cheered early Thursday evening as Allen became the most prolific 3-point shooter in history — an achievement marred just slightly by the , who ripped a 92-86 victory from Allen and the .
Foul trouble limited Allen in the second half, and injuries put a crimp in the Celtics’ rotation. finally spoiled the mood by scoring 20 of his 23 points in the second half to lead the Lakers to the victory in this latest rematch of perennial championship rivals.
It was a tough defeat for Boston, but Allen, now the career leader with 2,562 3-pointers, was still aglow an hour after the final buzzer.
“Definitely a magical moment,” he said, adding, “I almost felt a little embarrassed, because there was so much attention that was surrounding this 3-point record.”
The Lakers overcame an early 15-point deficit and gradually wore down the Celtics, who began the game without , and Marquis Daniels and finished it without Nate Robinson, who bruised a knee.
For the Lakers (37-16), who had been flailing lately, the win provided some relief. They had been 0-5 against the four top teams in the league, including a 13-point loss to Boston just 11 days earlier.
Pau Gasol (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 9 rebounds) took advantage of the Celtics’ thin front line all night. Allen led the Celtics (38-14) with 20 points, but scored just 6 in the second half.
Allen tied, then passed Miller with two 3-pointers in the first quarter and padded the total with another 3 in the fourth. Miller, sitting courtside as a TNT analyst, said he took pride in having served as a model for Allen years ago.
“I had a conversation with Ray earlier tonight and he was like, ‘When I was a rookie and I came to Market Square Arena and I saw you for three, three-and-a-half hours before shooting, that’s how I wanted to patent my game,’ ” Miller said during the broadcast.
Allen got the record with 1 minute 48 seconds left in the first quarter, on a feed from Rajon Rondo, who penetrated and kicked the ball out to him near the right wing. The ball swished. The roar was instant and sustained.
Twenty-two seconds later, as Bynum shot free throws, Allen took the opportunity to jog to midcourt and embrace Miller. The record was announced at the end of the quarter, setting off another round of hugs and roars. Allen held up his hand in acknowledgment, looking emotional.
Every electronic surface in the arena flashed the figure “2,561” in green and white.
“I’m truly happy for Ray,” said Bryant, who like Allen was drafted in 1996. “That’s just unbelievable.”
Allen came out firing from the start, teasing the crowd with three 2-point attempts before launching his first 3, from the left corner, to a soundtrack of “ooohs,” as the ball rattled in and out. His next attempt was true.
Allen dribbled to the top of the arc, just to the right of the key, then stopped and launched. The crowd, 18,624 strong, screamed in elation when the ball swished through. He and Miller were tied.
Allen shot another 3 on his next trip down the court, but it bounced off the rim, delaying history for a few more minutes. He missed the next one as well before finally meeting destiny — 14 years and 3 months after hitting his first 3-pointer, as a Milwaukee Buck, on Nov. 1, 1996.
A video montage showed Allen making big 3-pointers with the and the and finally the Celtics, the team he joined in a trade in 2007.
“It is a moment that I had to catch my breath a little bit, because I was emotional,” he said, adding, “It’s a moment that is going to stay with me forever.”