He opened the season as somewhat of a revelation, to a degree more of a free-agent surprise than Ray Allen. He followed with consistent rotation minutes and even four starts.
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MIAMI — For all the moments he has created over his 17 seasons, Ray Allen says what has kept him grounded is that he continues to live in the moment.
Saturday was another of those moments, with his four-point play with 6.7 seconds remaining giving the Miami Heat a 119-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets at AmericanAirlines Arena.
While the 3-pointer, flying chest bump from LeBron James and ensuing free throw came in the emotion of the moment, it is an inner peace in his transition to the Heat, Allen said, that allowed him to succeed in that moment.
"There's so much adjustment all around, not only on the floor, but off the floor, as well," he said of the whirlwind that delivered him to this point, after spending the previous five seasons with the Boston Celtics. "Every day, it just seems like you're trying to figure it out. So for me and the rest of these guys, everybody's present in the moment, trying to figure that out. You never know from one game to the next what may or may not happen."
What happened Saturday was the second memory Allen created in as many home appearances with the Heat, even more compelling than when he stepped to the court for the first time with the team in Tuesday's season-opening victory over the Celtics and immediately stepped up to convert his first 3-pointer.
"I'm always nervous, no matter what," he said in comparing Tuesday's debut moment and Saturday's closing heroics. "Just that you want everything to go right, you want everything to be perfect. But basketball's an imperfect game.
"Obviously I had jitters being the first game here. But, again, you go back to what you know, you go back to the preparation that you put in. So the practice time you put in, by yourself or with the team, is real."
During that practice time before games, Allen finds himself on the court with fellow Heat 3-point specialists Mike Miller, James Jones and Shane Battier. That, he said, provides all-for-one, one-for-all satisfaction when moments like Saturday's happen.
"I feel like I'm representing them whenever I step out on the floor," he said. "So it's our preparation. And I think, as a team, we'll get better as the season goes along.
"This is one thing, team-wise, I've really appreciated about a lot of the guys here, is that you take James, you take Mike, Shane, those guys are ultimate professionals. They're ready whenever called."
Saturday, Allen was called, James drawing the defense, then providing the pass and the space.
"When you're put in those situations," Allen, who recorded his 48th career game of six or more 3-pointers, "you just kind of in your mind go back that hour and a half on the floor, earlier that day, shooting, just repetition, the muscle memory. So I never really worry about the situations that I'm in or the circumstances. It's just a matter of I've done this a million times."
Make it a million and one.
"I was just happy I was able to put it on the money," James said of his game-winning assist, "and he took care of the rest."
A Bosh boost
Overshadowed by Allen's late heroics was the 10th career 40-point game by Heat center Chris Bosh. It was Bosh's first 40-point game with the Heat and first since April 4, 2010, when he scored 43 points for the Toronto Raptors against the Golden State Warriors. He scored 20 points in each half Saturday.
"He is always being overshadowed by something," James said. "He played the way an All-Star should play. He played beyond that. He kept us in the game when we couldn't get stops."
Released at the end of training camp, former Heat second-round pick has been added to the camp roster of the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League, the Heat's affiliate. While the Heat no longer hold the rights to the shot-blocking power forward, the timing of his release left him assigned to Sioux Falls.
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