BOSTON - Ray Allen lost the shooting touch that made history two days earlier.
One of the NBA's most reliable outside scorers took 13 shots from the field on Tuesday night and missed every one. The worst playoff shooting performance by any player in at least 18 years followed Allen's finals-record eight three-pointers on Sunday night.
Not coincidentally, Allen's misfiring helped the Los Angeles Lakers win 91-84 and take a 2-1 lead in the NBA finals over the Boston Celtics.
"That's why you always have to be humble," Allen said, his low-key demeanour not much different than it is after his good performances. "The game doesn't owe anything to anybody. You've got to work offensively. Every game, every day you have to go out and find your rhythm and make your shots."
On Sunday in Los Angeles, Allen made his first seven three-point attempts, hit one more, and scored 32 points, 27 in the first half as Boston won 103-94.
On Tuesday, working hard to stay with Kobe Bryant on defence, he was 0 for 8 from beyond the arc with many shots falling short, perhaps because of leg fatigue.
"I know the game's on TV. Everybody's watching," teammate Paul Pierce said, "but there's no script to it. Because you do one thing in one game, it doesn't mean it's going to happen the next."
No one thinks it will in Game 4 on Thursday night in Boston.
"We won't see 0 for 13 on Thursday night, that's for sure," said Los Angeles' Derek Fisher, who shut down Allen two days after being victimized by him.
"Ray is one of our go-to guys," Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo said. "So we're never going to lose confidence and stop going to him even if he's 0 for 20. He usually comes through in the clutch."
Allen had that chance Tuesday, but the result was the same as it was on each of his other shots.
His last attempt came with 57 seconds to play and Los Angeles leading 84-80. Holding the ball in the left corner behind the three-point line, he launched a high shot. He watched as it headed toward the basket. He saw it clang off the rim.
The Lakers got the ball and moments later Fisher made a layup for an 86-80 lead.
If there was one consolation for Allen (and there probably wasn't) he fell short of setting another record. Two players were 0 for 14 in finals games — Chick Reiser for Baltimore at Philadelphia in 1948 and Dennis Johnson for Seattle against Washington in 1978.
Allen did hit two free throws.
Before Tuesday, Allen's poorest shooting game in regular or post-season play was 0 for 9 against Memphis on Jan. 4, 2008. And since 1991-92, no player has ever done worse than 0 for 10 in a playoff game. New York's Patrick Ewing did that on May 28, 1994, against Indiana and Philadelphia's Charles Barkley matched that on May 13, 1995, against Houston.
Pierce was better than Allen on Tuesday night, but not by a whole lot. It didn't help that he picked up his fifth foul with 11:21 remaining.
"I'm getting some great looks," Pierce said. "I've just go to keep shooting, that's all."
He made only two of his first nine shots and was 4 for 11 before making a meaningless layup for the last basket of the game with 5.1 seconds remaining. On Sunday, Pierce was even worse, scoring 10 points while missing nine of 11 shots.
The cold shooting of Allen and Pierce overshadowed a major reversal by Kevin Garnett from Game 2, a positive one. Garnett scored the first six points of the game, matching his total for all of Sunday night, and finished with 25.
"I haven't had the type of games that I would like," he said. "Tonight was just a rhythm night for me. It flowed."
He missed only five shots all night.
Allen missed five in the first 10 minutes.
"Every shot I took I felt like it was a good shot. For me, I always think it's going to go in," Allen said. "It was frustrating. We were like one, two points back, just a play here or there could have made the difference."
Just a basket or two by Allen might have been that difference.
"I thought all of his shots looked flat," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Of the 13, I think eight of them were great looks and all of them were short, all of them were flat.
"It happens to the best of us."