A record not so secure

A record not so secure

Basketball : NBA great Donyell Marshall believes the 3-point field goals mark is set to fall sooner than later

A record not so secure

There is no NBA record that would seem to be more fragile than the one for most 3-point field goals made in a regular-season game. It has to fall, sooner rather than later, according to the less famous of the record's co-holders.

"Right now, we know we've been fortunate to still have it and probably won't much longer," said Donyell Marshall, who shares the mark of 12 3-pointers with Kobe Bryant, but with a notable distinction.

Though he was the fourth pick of the 1994 draft by Minnesota, out of Connecticut, Marshall was not a star. The night of his record dozen, he was not even a starter.

It was in March 2005 that Marshall, an 11-year veteran, came off the Toronto Raptors' bench and staged a home-court corner shooting clinic against the Philadelphia 76ers. He attempted a career-high 19 3-pointers and tied Bryant -- who had made 12 of 18 for the Lakers against Seattle in January 2003 -- with two minutes 52 seconds left in a 128-110 victory.

For 11 years, he and Bryant -- both out of Pennsylvania high schools -- have been partnered at the top. "Good company, not bad," Marshall said in a telephone interview in this increasingly freewheeling era of the long ball.

With teams shooting more 3-pointers than ever -- the average last season was 22.4 per game, way beyond the occasional 2.8 taken by teams when the shot was introduced in 1979-80 -- the highlight of the coming All-Star weekend in Toronto figures to be the 3-point-shooting contest.

Among others, it has the Splash Brothers -- the defending champion, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson -- from the league's marquee team, Golden State.

"One of them would have broken the record already, but they win so easily sometimes they don't even play in the fourth quarter, or maybe three or four minutes," Marshall said, admitting he held his breath a little when Curry stalled at 11 of 15 in a victory at Washington this month.

Marshall, 42, is now an assistant coach at the University at Buffalo, where his players congratulated him after Curry's close call, having heard the broadcasters cite the record. He still watches enough NBA games to surmise that Curry and Thompson, more than anyone else, are lurking, unloading and, unlike him, facilitating.

That's another aspect of the record Marshall can revel in. At six feet nine inches and about 220 pounds, he seldom had the ball in his hands, or the latitude or the ability to create for himself. Rare is the power forward capable of filling a spot on the guard-dominated list of NBA players who have reached double-digit 3-point shots in a game.

And who would have imagined back in the more conservative days, when even Larry Bird was measured in his use of the 3-ball, that a player of Donyell Marshall's standing would have the freedom -- and audacity -- to launch 19?

Most of the volume 3-point shooters are contemporary, but as far back as 1991 point guard Michael Adams fired up 20. George McCloud, a small forward, launched that many in 1996. Those scoring at home may know, or may not be surprised to learn, that the record for most 3-point attempts in a game belongs to that model of self-discipline, JR Smith.

Marshall was inclined to point out that he took his shots in the flow of the Raptors' offense and because of the inattention of the 76ers' defense.

Sam Mitchell, now calling shots for the Minnesota Timberwolves, was a rookie coach for the 33-49 Raptors of 2004-05.

Marshall said: "He always used to tell us, even if I call a play, if you see something, go with it. Philly's whole thing back then was trying to keep the ball out of the paint.”

“I had Chris Webber and Sam Dalembert guarding me a lot. I was open in the corner all night."

On YouTube, there is a video compilation of Marshall's makes, mostly catch-and-shoots without a defender in his face. He left the game to a standing ovation and walked into a hug from his teammate Jalen Rose.

Marshall said that when he joined the Raptors the previous season after four NBA stops, he benefited from the post-up tactics of Rose and the soon-to-be-traded Vince Carter.

"I'd just run to a spot near the line and wait for them to kick it out," Marshall said. Before then, he was considered a good outside shooter for a big man but no 3-point specialist. That season, he sank a career-best 151 3-pointers, making 41.6 percent of his attempts.
Marshall believes he contributed to the concept of the so-called stretch four, the power forward capable of spreading the floor and opening up the lane. The influx of European big men with long-range touch elevated the role, though Marshall would not include Dirk Nowitzki in the category.

"He's just a great player, no matter where he is, like Kevin Durant," Marshall said. "When I think about the first stretch fours, Sam Perkins comes to mind. Rasheed Wallace."

Marshall is 109th on the NBA's career list of 3-point shooters with 902. On the night he nailed 12, Kyle Korver, still one of the league's best long-distance marksmen, played for the 76ers, as did Andre Iguodala, a Curry and Thompson team-mate.

In the locker room that night, Rose said: "I want to be his agent. We got him paid today."
Indeed, Marshall signed as a free agent that summer with Cleveland to be a veteran presence for a young, rim-attacking LeBron James. Two years later, he took what may have been his most well-known 3-pointer -- a miss from the right corner off a pass from a driving James with the Cavs down 2 to Detroit in the dying seconds of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

James predictably took a pounding for passing up a contested shot in the lane -- though the Cavs went on to win the series. Nine years later, Marshall argued that the criticism was pure nonsense. "You know," he said, "I'd made a few from out there."