At the 7:50 mark of the first quarter of last night’s game, I found myself rubbing my eyes in disbelief.
Over the course of the previous 2:20, I think I saw Jesus himself beginning to make his return.
10:34 Ray Allen hits an effortless 16-footer. Two points.
10:10 Ray Allen hits a 26-foot three pointer. No front rim, no front-and-back rim. Just net.
9:07 Ray Allen hits another 26-footer. Again, no effort.
The barrage ends two minutes later where it started, with in-the-flow-of-the-game two-point basket.
During the fourth quarter, Allen offered up a three pointer, a blocked shot, and a key defensive rebound with about a minute left on the clock.
What’s going on here?
KG is out, so Ray is focused.
Ray’s injury woes are fading from the equation.
Not having lit it up on a regular basis this year, Jesus feels he has something to prove.
Over the last five games, Ray 35-72 (.472), including 13-31 (.419), marked improvements over his season averages.
Still, it’s not all good.
His numbers on three-days’ rest are even more eye-opening.
45-83 (.542) overall and 14-30 (.466) from three. Even his free throw percentage is better on three days’ rest: .947 compared to .916.
So while the Jesus may have finally returned to the parquet, it may be equally true that this is an older Jesus who needs some rest to perform at his peak.
Hopefully, there’s no 2008 All-Star appearance foreboding in his future.