How Ray Allen gets open

In Game 1, Ray Allen scored only 12 points in 27 minutes after battling foul trouble in the Celtics' sluggish loss. With two days off before Game 2, Allen had to carry his ineffectual performance around with him. He tried to play golf, but said he couldn't focus because his head was spinning with recursive thoughts like figuring out how to guard Kobe Bryant, or capitalizing on opportunities the Celtics had missed in the series opener.

"Throughout the day it would just flash in my head," Allen said. "Whatever I'm doing I might be spaced out. Somebody might be asking me a question and I'm not right there at that moment."

However absent Allen might have been since Thursday night, he was entirely present on the floor Sunday evening. His eight 3-pointers set a new Finals record for most successful field goals beyond the arc in a single game.

Watching Allen work to find space for his quick trigger is one of the more artful things you'll see on a basketball court. Few shooters exert more effort to get open looks -- even though the mechanics of Allen's shot appear effortless. And few know how to better use the collective assets of their teammates to help earn those opportunities. It's the gift of awareness.