And This Year’s 2005 Cry Baby Award Goes To…Ray Allen!

By Gregory Moore
Updated: May 10, 2005

Ray Allen is one of the best players in the NBA but it seems that when he plays against the San Antonio Spurs and specifically Bruce Bowen, Allen retreats to name calling and taking crack shots in the press rather than show his opponent that he can beat them.

SAN ANTONIO – I was all prepared to give Denver Nuggets head coach my 2005 Cry Baby of the Year award after his stunning performance during the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. After all when Karl complained that the referees were allowing the game to be physical against his team when he had the young Nuggets squad try to manhandle the Spurs players. He whined his way through the press saying that Spurs players were floppers and didn’t play ‘standard’ basketball because they took his team’s abuse and then shelled out a little of their own. In the end, he was dejected as he watched his team lose four straight games to the Spurs in a 4-1 routing. But Karl is in second place now because the biggest whiner of them all makes his residence in Seattle and that crybaby from the home of double shot espresso is Ray Allen.

Allen is probably one of the most talented ball players in the NBA but yet when it comes to his play against the Spurs, mainly Bruce Bowen, he whines more than a five year old who had his Tonka truck taken away from him for soiling in his pants. Even Baby Huey would tell Allen to take his abuse like a man but for him to whine to the press BEFORE the series even started proved one thing to this reporter; he was already a beaten man before Sunday. Now he’s a beaten man before this series is over with. He has blamed Bowen for numerous things in the past but for him to try and say that the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year caused his injury shows the basketball world just how soft of a player Allen is. Mental toughness? Now about a lack of mental awareness during a combat situation. If this were another forum, I wouldn’t want Ray Allen in my foxhole. He’d be crying for his blanket and Twinkie Winkie doll. What’s more embarrassing is that Nate McMillian, a former player who was every bit as tough and gritty as he was a consummate shooter for the Seattle Sonics back in the day, has to put up with Allen’s barbs.

If Allen thinks the press is going to let up on him because he’s a superstar he has another thing coming. First of all this isn’t the Sacramento Kings that he is playing against. The Kings allowed him to have wide open looks at jumpers that even Goofy could hit given the opportunity. The defensive strategies the Kings employed weren’t all the challenging. They didn’t challenge Allen because they had no one to really challenge him and make him a better player in that series. He liked that role a lot and he expects the Spurs to do the same thing. Well while this city may be known for their hospitality if it’s one thing that the Spurs, as a team, prides themselves on is their defense. Evidence of that should be the first half of Game 1 of this series when the Spurs had second chance points and fast break points that were unheard of for a team that doesn’t run. This team isn’t going to let no superstar, not Kobe Bryant, not Tracy McGrady, not Kevin Garnett and certainly not Allen.

So why is he crying up a storm on how Bowen plays him? Well my own thoughts have been because Bowen is actually playing the type of defense that kids learn a long time ago. Bowen doesn’t body you but what he does is he darts at you as he defends a position. When he’s going up the court with Allen, he shadows him. In other words what he is doing is making Allen do things he doesn’t normally do most of the time; think before he reacts. Allen has to play a mental chess game with Bowen and he doesn’t like it. That is why Bowen came in second place behind Ben Wallace. It is that type of defense that has made him a defensive stopper for years, long before Allen became so proficient as a scorer. Evidently Ray doesn’t remember Bowen when he was at Miami. Ask some of those former New York Knicks teams about his defense Ray and they’ll tell you that Bowen was a thorn in their side defensively.

With Allen’s whining to the press about Bruce’s play, what has now become apparent is that Allen is mentally off of his game. If he is thinking about how one guy plays him, then the Spurs have won the mental battle already. If he thinks Bowen is a pest, wait until he has Devin Brown and/or Manu Ginobili guarding him; he’ll know exactly what being a pest is when all three of them have worn him out mentally and physically. But even without backup, Bowen is doing just enough to keep the mental edge on the bench with his team. Bowen understands all to well that he is an integral piece of the defensive picture and that whatever he can do to help his team, he’ll do it within the rules.

That’s why hearing Allen gripe about how Bowen plays him is so laughable. Here is a guy who is supposed to be one of the best pure shooters in the league and he’s crying because somebody is impeding his shot range on the court. He’s whining because Bowen has basically kept that Eastern Conference playing mentality while playing out West and Allen doesn’t like the physical contact. What does he think this, pre-season? This is the playoffs and everybody is stepping up their game on both ends of the court. Whether Allen and his teammates have is still to be determined at this present time.

It’s a shame that a great player like Ray Allen is determined to cry to the press about how he is being pushed around by another player and basically he dissolved a friendship because of the way Bruce Bowen plays defense. Ray you just don’t get it. Bowen’s defensive reputation is what has allowed him to stay in this league for so long. He is doing something that so many guys, including yourself, don’t want to do. And if you are going to continue to whine to the press about one player then you are letting your team down. They don’t need to hear your sissy talk right now. But in the meantime Ray come on down and pick up your award. You might need it if you and your team are unable to get out of this round. By the way, the Kleenex and baby wipes are on the house.