More than that, though, Allen is utilized by the Heat as a straight up sniper off the bench. Coach Spoelstra seems to have a pattern for inserting Allen at around the 4:00 minute mark in the first quarter and leaving him in until about midway through the second quarter. He then reinserts Allen for two to four minutes to end the half to give the Heat a chance to score some extra points going into the break. Here are Allen’s minutes from the first and second halves from last night:
1st Half: Allen checks in for Chris Bosh at the 4:03 mark in the first quarter and remains on the floor until Mario Chalmers comes in for him at 6:26 mark of the second quarter. Allen re-entered the game at the 2:19 mark for Mike Miller.
2nd Half: Allen replaces Rashard Lewis at the 3:04 mark in the 3rd quarter and remains in for the remainder of the game.
Allen sits most of the third quarter before checking in the quarter (especially in close games). Last night, for example, Allen came in at the 3:04 mark in the third quarter and played the entire last 15:00 of the game.
In his other two go-ahead shot performances against the Nuggets (4-point play) and Cavs (a ‘layup,’ Allen stated post-game), Spoelstra’s distribution of Allen’s minutes have been nearly identical to last night against San Antonio.
In close games against the Heat this year, opponents coaching staffs and players have devastatingly difficult decisions to make. Sometimes it won’t matter how they decide to guard Miami because the Heat have so many threats that all you can do is hope they miss the shot they get, because if they work their play properly and the defense isn’t in perfect position at all times (even if they are, it might not matter), they’re probably going to get one of the looks they want anyway (FYI: they’ve won all the tight games they’ve been in this season).
We’ll take you through a typical sequence of effectiveness for Allen when he gets into the game in the third quarter.
When he checked in at the 3:04 mark in third quarter last night, he promptly sunk a technical free throw at the 2:42 mark.
He then took the ball out in a sideline out of bounds play situation on the right side of the court. Mike Miller came off a LeBron James screen and received the ball from Allen at the top of the key. Allen stepped onto the court, made a sharp v-cut and used LeBron James in much the same way Miller did to get open, except Allen is sprinting across the floor (the Heat love to get him in motion as the play is starting to throw the defense off). Allen is on a mission to get to the left elbow, where Haslem has been waiting to set a pick for him. No. 34 – “Jesus Shuttlesworth” from his He Got Game days – catches the ball and immediately takes two dribbles to the left corner, rises up and nails home a 17-foot jumper to tilt the score to 69-66 in Miami’s favor.
On the next possession, Norris Cole brought the ball up and passed to Chris Bosh three feet above the top of the key. Bosh swung the ball to a posted up Mike Miller, just above the left elbow. Haslem set a screen on Gary Neal, Allen’s man, on the far side of the court near the box. Allen came around the screen and caught the ball at the strong-side box, turned and shot a flip shot over his left shoulder.