Coming into the NBA, Brian Shaw, a relatively unknown point guard from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), made his mark on the 1988/89 Boston Celtics squad and thus showed great promise.
After spending one year brushing up on his skills in Italy (in 1989/90), Shaw rejoined the Celtics for the 1990/91 campaign while forming one of the game’s most exciting young backcourts with the future Cs star Reggie Lewis.
But, on January 10th, 1992, he was suddenly traded to one of the four late-1980s NBA expansion franchises – the Miami Heat. In a swap of point guards, Shaw was exchanged for Sherman Douglas. Shaw would immediately fit into the Heat’s rotation and head coach Kevin Loughery’s vision and plans.
laying alongside rookie Steve Smith and sharp-shooter Glen Rice, Shaw galvanized the team, helping it realize its true potential by making its first play-off ever in 1992. Next season, he continued to split playing time with Bimbo Coles and feeding the ball to Glen Rice, one of the most prolific three-point shooters of the 1990s. The nights when G-Money was off target were rare.
On April 8th, 1993, in Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, the roles reversed – now it was Shaw who suddenly found himself in the ‘zone’, with his teammates tirelessly feeding him the ball on the perimeter.
Guarded by the Bucks’ rookie Lee Mayberry, Shaw exploded for a career-high 32 points, by hitting 10 of 15 long-distance shots.
“Once I had a few, my teammates kept encouraging me to shoot them. They were setting screens and trying to get me open.” – Brian Shaw
Shaw, who made the total of only eight three-point goals throughout his first three NBA seasons, poured in as many as six triples in the first quarter alone! In a postgame interview, he emphasized that the most critical shot was the one which banked in after Brad Lohaus deflected it.
“When that one went in, I knew it was going to be my night!” – Brian Shaw
He also added six boards, three dimes, and four steals in a convincing 117-112 Miami Heat road win. By doing that, Shaw set the new NBA three-point record, which was previously held by three-point specialists Dale Ellis and Michael Adams, who both hit nine trifectas in a single game.
That season, the Heat made a total of 33 threes on 35.4% clip and were ranked 4th in the NBA.
“I’ve got no problems with guys shooting three-pointers. We were 15 of 22 from the three-point line. Some nights we can’t even shoot foul shots that well.”- Kevin Loughery, Miami Heat head coach
The following season (1993-1994), the Heat’s head coach Kevin Loughery decided to use Shaw more as a shooting guard than point guard and asked him to produce even more 3s. Shaw responded accordingly – while starting 52 games (out of 77 appearances) at the shooting guard position, he hit his career-best 73 three-pointers while also shooting his career-best 33.8% from downtown.
Later on, this 14-year NBA journeyman proved to be a perfect supplement to play along superstar center Shaquille O’Neal. He fed him the ball on alley-oops playing with the Magic (1994-97) and the Lakers (1999-2003).
And make no mistake – many times when opponents decided to converge and double-team Shaq Attack, it was Shaw who made them pay with his long-distance shooting proficiency.
Currently, the single-game record in three-pointers made is held by the Warriors’ sharp-shooter Klay Thomson, who hit a total of 14 three-pointers in an away game against the Chicago Bulls on October 29th, 2018.
Basketball Network contributor Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is the 1980s and 1990s basketball specialist, proud author of the Amazon.com TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’.