Ray Allen has fired the second shot while describing the end of the Heat’s Big Three era.
After Dwyane Wade compared the 2013-14 season to a “bad marriage,” Allen told Sports Illustrated that the organization and coaching staff “didn’t adjust” to having older players on the team. Allen, who has not played since the 2013-14 season, was promoting his new book, “From the Outside: My Journey Through Life and the Game I Love.”
Allen said players were required to do too many appearances and coach Erik Spoeltra scheduled too many practices.
“With a team as old as we were, and with as much basketball as we’d played, we were still doing a million appearances, we still were having all the practices, and doing all the things that typically wear you down by the end of the year,” Allen said. “Just being on your feet so much. The team didn’t learn how to manage our bodies better.
“When your players have played in June the last three or four years, by this time you have to figure out how get people off their feet. We don’t need to have a practice. We don’t need to have a shootaround. We just have to be mental. From those aspects, you wear yourself down long term.”
Spoelstra took the high road when asked about Allen’s comments Thursday following practice as the Heat prepared for Friday’s game in Utah. He started by saying, “I love Ray,” before adding, “if we didn’t win three in a row, I think we should be open to criticism. It’s tough, it’s tough to win in this league multiple years, going four years in a row. I tip my hat off to teams that have been able to win three in a row. But I love Ray.”
Spoelstra also joked that recently, while walking his dog, he saw Allen, who was driving, and that Allen did not run him down so it can’t be all that bad.
“I was walking my dog across an intersection in Coconut Grove,” Spoelstra said. “He didn’t run me over. He had an opportunity to. I appreciated that. We actually stopped traffic. We chatted for a whole in the intersection. He looks great. … I will forever be grateful to Ray.”
Allen played his final two seasons with the Heat, joining Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh after they had won one title and been to two Finals. The Heat advanced to the Finals for the fourth straight season in 2014 before being dominated by San Antonio in five games.
“It certainly was tough on all of us as players,” Allen said. “Organizationally, I don’t think they ever adjusted. Most of the guys, having gone to so many Finals, me being an older player, having played a lot of basketball the last five, six years, organizationally and coaching wise they didn’t adjust.
“We had the oldest team in the NBA, and on top of that, we had such a bad schedule. Every holiday we were away from home. Every situation we were in we were fighting to just stay above board, trying to figure out how to sleep or rest our bodies. We wore down, we were tired, and we were definitely tired at the end. We still were good, and we still made it to the Finals.”
Recently, Wade was comparing what the Heat went through that season to what Cleveland is experiencing this year with Wade and James reuniting in September when Wade signed with the Cavs after agreeing to a buyout with the Bulls.
“As a team we were kind of like this,” Wade told reporters in Cleveland. “It was worse because it wasn’t new guys. It was guys who had been around each other four years in a row. Your jokes weren’t funny anymore to other guys. When you walked in, it wasn’t a big smile no more. Guys were just over you.
“It’s like being in a bad marriage. But we somehow made it to the Finals.”
Allen played a huge role in the Heat’s 2013 title. With Miami trailing San Antonio in the Finals, 3-2, Allen hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of Game 6, sending the game into overtime. Miami won that game then captured its second title of the Big Three era in Game 7.
Allen was asked about that shot.
“People always ask me if I remember it. I’m like, “Uh, which shot are you speaking of? I don’t know which one you’re talking about,’” he said. “Do I remember it? Somebody did this huge picture and I have it on the wall in my house. It’s boarded all over the wall. We actually forget that it’s there half the time.
“For me it’s not about the shot as much as the preparation. That lifelong preparation that went into me being in that situation. I think it’s the Game 6 shot more than anything that people ask me about. They always tell me where they were when it happened. It’s pretty interesting, as much as I hit the shot, it’s more about where people were and how it affected their life more than anything else.”
A picture of that shot covers a large portion of one wall outside the Heat locker room, a floor-to-ceiling reminder of the most famous basket in Heat history.
“I walk by his picture every day and tap it, of just an acknowledgment of how special that time was and how it’s one of the iconic, all-time iconic shots in NBA history,” Spoelstra said.