For their sporting brethren in Boston who play basketball, another Hail Mary dropped through.
Congratulations, Kevin Garnett. You now lead the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage for players with a minimum of three attempts, with a conversion percentage of 1.000.
Garnett was 9-of-12 from the field, including his third 3-pointer of the season on three tries, as the Celtics defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 98-80 Sunday on a light day schedule-wise in the NBA. In the only other game, Miami defeated Toronto 95-89.
Boston took charge with a 21-7 run early in the fourth quarter that turned a six-point lead to 90-70 on Garnett’s 3-pointer.
From Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “It marked the first time as a Celtic that Garnett has hit three 3-pointers in one season, let alone three straight games. But if he bristles a little bit that his downtown prowess would be questioned, consider in Minnesota he had three seasons of 20 or more 3-pointers — 1999-00 (30-of-81), 2001-02 (37-of-116) and 2002-03 (20-of-71). So yes, Garnett can shoot 3-pointers. … “Don’t get used to it, ya’ll,” said Garnett. “Listen. I can shoot 3’s. I’m 50 and I’m out here with one leg and a cane, some nights are better than others. I’m human and I mess up, but I can shoot 3’s. I don’t (do) 3’s because we have one of the all-time greatest 3-point shooters in Ray Allen. We have Paul Pierce, who has won the 3-point contest. We have other guys who can shoot 3’s. “It’s not my role here. My job is to get those guys open, and if it’s thrown to me, dunk it or pass it, cool. But I can shoot 3’s. … “Ya’ll are acting all shocked, like you haven’t seen a black guy hit a 3 before. What the hell is going on with ya’ll? Doc (Rivers) grabbed me today — shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. I hit the 3 and looked at him like, ‘Huh? That’s what you want? I can shoot 3’s.’ ”
For those wondering, Serge Ibaka, Jeff Foster, D.J. White and Mike James are the other NBA players shooting 1.000 from 3-point range. All are 1-for-1 on the season.
Among those who qualify for the league leaders, Brandon Rush of Golden State leads Allen of the Celtics by one one-thousandth of a percentage point. Rush is 34-for-60 (.567) and Allen is 47-for-83 (.566). No other NBA player is above 50 percent. (For more statistical oddities, check out Chris Bernucca’s Sunday notes column).
LeBron James is now shooting just a shade below 60 percent in first quarters, and his big start and big finish helped the Miami Heat stave off what would have been a big upset.
From Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press: “(Linas) Kleiza’s 3-pointer with just under five minutes left got Toronto within eight, and another 3 from (Jarryd) Bayless as the shot clock expired on the next Raptors’ possession cut the Miami lead to 85-80—the closest the game had been since early in the third quarter. Bayless scored again to get the Raptors within three and cap a 12-0 Toronto run. And after Bosh missed a fadeaway from the right baseline, Bayless tried a 3-pointer to tie. It bounced off, and with the game in the balance, James went to work. He was fouled by James Johnson and made two free throws with 2:20 left, not before letting anyone around him know he wasn’t pleased with the physicality of the play. The next time James touched the ball, he didn’t give the Raptors a chance to foul him—his steal and two-handed slam with 2:07 left gave Miami an 89-82 edge and all but ensured the win. “Good back-to-back plays for our team and I was happy I was able to make them,” James said.