In the spotlight
Allen getting more attention than he wants
Updated: Tuesday May 15, 2001 7:30 PM
St. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) -- Ray Allen is getting more attention every day.
He won the inaugural "Magic Johnson Ideal Player Award" on Monday. The Professional Basketball Writers Association recognized the Milwaukee Bucks' fifth-year shooting guard, Olympic gold medalist and star of movies and commercials for being a great player on the court and a good guy off it.
"I hope he plays like Magic sometime in a championship series," coach George Karl said. "That would be great. I hope he imitates Magic as much on the court as I think the award is probably an off-the-court award. But Ray is a great citizen. He's a great ambassador for the game."
Allen's reputation is only now growing nationwide.
The Charlotte Hornets took note of Allen's abilities after he scored 26 and 28 points against them in the first two games of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. They bestowed a double team upon him every time he touched the ball in their last two games and won both times, tying the series at two games each.
And you can bet the Hornets will send an extra big body Allen's way every time he touches the ball in Game 5 Tuesday night at the Bradley Center.
Allen's playoff shooting percentage dipped from 52 percent to 40 percent in Charlotte and his scoring average dipped six points to 19.5.
"As long as we score, it doesn't bother me at all," Allen said.
There's the rub.
Robinson is shooting 37 percent and Cassell 36 percent. And both are banged up -- Cassell has bruised ribs, and Robinson has sore ankles.
"I'm not playing up to my standards right now," said Cassell, who had eight points, four assists and four turnovers in Game 4.
"Sam has missed some shots, and he's not as aggressive as he usually is, and that may be the ribs," Hornets guard Baron Davis said.
Robinson and Cassell shot a combined 11-for-30 in the Bucks' 85-78 loss Sunday that marked their lowest offensive output of the season.
"We're not going to get held to 78 points, not two games straight," Robinson said. "I guarantee you."
In 185 playoff games in franchise history, the Bucks had never been limited to fewer than 80 points.
"I was shocked," Karl said. "We had an edginess to the shot selection. We took quick shots. I think we had at least eight or nine bad shot selections and you throw that in with 24 turnovers, 30 percent of your possessions are bad decisions. And Charlotte's a good defensive team."
Allen scored just one basket in the fourth quarter, when the Bucks managed only a dozen points.
Hornets guard Eddie Robinson has basically forgotten about his offense so he can concentrate on the Bucks' best shooter.
"Ray Allen can do it all, and he takes a lot out of you on the defensive end," Robinson said. "So I'm really more concerned about my defense then my offense. I never was that way until this year, but coach told me if I wanted to play I had to improve my defense and I took that challenge. So if I'm not scoring, but I'm playing Ray Allen tough, that's fine with me."
If the Bucks were bothered by dropping two winnable games in Charlotte, they put up a brave front Monday with a loose practice that didn't include a film review of their latest loss.
"I'll be honest with you, I never thought this was going to be a five-game series," Karl said. "I thought it was going to be a six- or seven-game series. The confidence and momentum might be on their side, but ... I still think we've got the hammer in our hand."
Cassell said there's no reason to mope around.
"We're not down 2-0," he said. "We're tied. So, we're still swimming. If we were down 2-0, we'd be on our way to drowning. But we're not.
"Like George said, we've got to be us."
That means the trio of Milwaukee's jump shooters have to put the "Big" back in "Big Three."