THERE is no denying the fact Reggie Miller and Ray Allen are two of the greatest shooters to ever play the game of basketball. These lethal three-point bombers each carved out a reputation for breaking the hearts of millions of fans thanks to the combination of their ever-reliable jumper and an innate ability to deliver in the clutch. When stacking the two sharpshooters against one another, a compelling argument for each player emerges, but as is the way with every Compare the Pair – there can only be one victor.
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THIS category can’t simply be broken down by comparing Ray Allen’s two championship rings to Miller’s zero with Reggie more than holding his own against his fellow sharpshooter. In fact, during his 144 postseason games, Miller improved his scoring average from 18.2 PPG in the regular season to 20.6 PPG while Allen went in the opposite direction – dropping 18.9 PPG in the regular season only to average 16.1 PPG over 171 playoff appearances. Allen’s averages are obviously compromised due to the latter chapter of his career, where he chalked up most of his playoff experience as a member of the Celtics and Heat.
JOINING forces with star teammates like LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade helped Allen win 21 playoff series’ in his career, beating out Reggie’s total of 14 series W’s. While Miller didn’t pull out as many victories as his counterpart, he did drag Indiana to the NBA Finals in 2000 and helped the Pacers make the postseason in 15 of his 18 pro seasons. Allen only managed to break through for playoff action four times in his first 11 seasons, highlighting how his superior supporting cast in the back half of his career helped him capture the NBA’s ultimate prize – twice. It wouldn’t be fair to call Allen a passenger in those postseason pushes, but Miller was THE driving force during their most successful stint for the Pacers franchise.
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TO be honest it’s virtually impossible to split the two when it comes to offensive output. Allen’s career shooting percentages (45.2 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 89.4 FT%) almost mirror Miller’s numbers (47.1 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 88.8 FT%) with both guards excelling offensively for the better part of two decades. Ray did manage to reach a high peak than Reggie, averaging at least 22.0 PPG on seven different occasions compared to Miller’s two such seasons. However, it’s worth noting Miller led the league in free throw percentage five times and three-point percentage twice, becoming one of just eight players to join the 50-40-90 club, doing so back in 1993-94). Over his entire career, Reggie was the focal point of Indiana’s offense while Allen settled into more of a supporting role in the second half of his NBA journey, meaning Ray wasn’t matched up against the best perimeter defenders, sometimes even squaring off against fellow reserves. One the other hand, Reggie was consistently chased around the floor by some of the game’s best wing defenders and he still managed to establish himself as one of the best scorer’s of his era.
Edge: Miller (Just)
MUCH like the offensive debate Ray and Reggie are virtually carbon copies of one another on defense. Neither has a reputation as a stout defender or as a shutdown player and statistically, Allen and Miller own the same career averages for steals (1.1 per) and blocks (0.2 per). Overall, I’m giving Miller the slight edge thanks in large part to his ability to get under the skin of his opponents and throw them off their game. One of the greatest trash talkers to lace ’em up, Reggie wasn’t afraid to take on the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and towards the end Kobe Bryant, constantly hassling players the length of the floor and forcing his foes to either lose their cool or make a bonehead move with the ball in their hands. Unorthodox, but it made him a slightly better defender than Ray.
Edge: Miller (Just)
ALLEN – 2013 NBA Finals Game 6
SINCE Ray Allen’s crucial jumper in 2013, Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce, Game 7 winner is gathering steam as one of the most clutch moments in the sport’s history. While Kawhi’s shot deserves recognition, I personally regard Allen’s jumper as the most clutch shot in NBA history. Kyrie’s jumper against the Warriors will always hold a special place in my heart as a Cavs fan, but if Allen missed the late three-pointer in Game 6, San Antonio would have become NBA champions. The trophy was almost being wheeled onto the floor as Allen retreated behind the three-point line before calming hitting the most important shot of his life.
MILLER – 1995 East Semi’s Game 1
THE nickname most commonly associated with Reggie is “Knick Killer”. Miller forged that reputation by clashing with New York on six different occasions in the playoffs, splitting the head-to-head ledger 3-3. The seven-game battle the Pacers and Knicks took part in back in 1995 is arguably their greatest matchup, with Reggie emerging as the star of the show in Game 1. Uttering ‘eight points in nine seconds’ takes basketball fans down memory lane to Miller Time – with Indiana trailing by six points and just 18.7 seconds remaining on the clock. Miller proceeded to make two three-pointers in the span of 3.1 seconds to tie the game leaving the Knicks to implode as they tried to process what just happened. Two calm Reggie Miller free throws later and an iconic NBA moment was born.
Both of these basketball moments saw Allen and Miller at the peak of their clutch, three-point bombing best. What’s most impressive from the duo is the concentration and awareness they displayed to get behind the three-point line to make their shots count. So, which one was better? While Reggie’s scoring spree is an all-time iconic moment, Allen’s shot literally saved the 2013 championship and changed the course of NBA history. Not many players can claim that.
WHEN comparing the awards both players won during their careers, the different era’s both Allen and Miller took part in need to be remembered. The younger sniper in Allen made 10 All-Star teams in a 12-year span compared to Reggie being selected just five times in his career. Miller’s low All-Star tally seems offensive, but it was hard for him to stand out in the East during the dominant era of the Bulls, Pistons and Celtics with the likes of Penny Hardaway, Joe Dumars, Tim Hardaway and Mark Price perennially taking Miller’s place on the roster. Allen was forced to fight a weaker crop of East guards for his place on the All-Star team, with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady his only real competition for the starting slot. From an All-NBA perspective, Reggie made a trio of Third team’s in the late ’90s with Allen managing one Second and one Third team selection during his playing days.
ASIDE from All-Star and All-NBA picks, neither Allen or Miller have a ton of individual accolades to their name, but their career tally’s from downtown can help to identify a winner. At this time of his retirement, Miller’s 2,590 made three’s were an NBA record, one that has since been broken by Ray Allen. In February of 2011, Allen knocked down a pair of triples in the first quarter against the Lakers to overtake Miller and in April of 2013, he passed Reggie for first place in playoff made 3’s. We all expect Steph Curry to own every three-point record by the time he’s done, but Allen was the game’s most prolific shooter when he called time on his career. That’s enough to beat out Reggie in this section.
DESPITE all the similarities between the pair, they had two very different personalities. Miller was one of the best trash talkers in NBA history and was often outspoken and brash when going about his business. That’s helped Miller establish himself as a valued NBA analyst/commentator on the sidelines. Allen, on the other hand, was more reserved and quiet, letting his game do the talking and largely fading into obscurity once he officially retired from the game in 2016. Their impact and influence on the game is tough to measure, however, Miller’s clutch heroics and famous battles with the Knicks in the playoffs outshine any of the theatre Allen produced. Take nothing away from the humble hero that was Ray, but Reggie’s ability to captivate fans and keep the Pacers relevant in one of the NBA’s golden era’s gives him the edge.
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VERDICT – REGGIE MILLER
THIS is by far the toughest comparison I have had to do to, and for once the guy with the championships doesn’t come out on top! There isn’t a lot to split Miller and Allen, with their residence in the NBA both lasting 18 seasons and most of their career numbers near identical. The major difference between the two is the longevity of Reggie’s individual brilliance as the primary player in Indiana. Only five players have played more games for a single franchise than Miller did for the Pacers and while pitted against some of the greatest teams/players of all-time, Reggie never backed down. Allen meanwhile, was one of the best players in the early 00’s and a prolific scorer to boot. However, he never had to square off against Micahel Jordan and a 70-win Bulls team or deal with a hostile MSG to advance in the playoffs. Advantage Reggie.
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