Some of the Miami Heat players have been adamant at how much they value James Jones when he’s on the floor. After all, you can’t put into words how important a floor spacer is to players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Players like Jones open the floor up for the duo to do what they do best — penetrate their opposition. They make the offense go.
And again, Heat coach Eric Spoelstra listened to his superstar duo. After not playing in Game 1, Jones logged seven minutes in Game 2. Hmmm.
Jones’ final stat line read: 0 points, 0-for-2 shooting, 0 rebounds and 0 assists. However, he was a plus-3 on the night — fifth best on the team.
And while at times that stat is somewhat flawed, it could give us an insight as to why both Wade and LeBron love Jones out on the court alongside them.
First, let’s take a look at his game log.
2nd QTR, 6:41 — James Jones checks in.
First offensive play: Two-man game between Mario Chalmers and LeBron James — results in a James dunk off the pass.
Second offensive play: Free throws for Chalmers after a broken play.
Third offensive play: Two-man game between Chalmers and James. LeBron finds Rashard Lewis in the corner, who swings to Jones for a wide open three. Missed shot. James rebounds, scores.
Fourth offensive play: Jones uses Dwyane Wade as decoy, finds open space and is found for another wide open three. Missed.
Fifth offensive play: Wade free throws.
2nd QTR, 4:09 — Jones checks out.
3rd QTR, :31 — Jones checks in
Sixth offensive play: Wade clear-out, made basket.
End of 3rd QTR — Jones checks out.
4th QTR, 8:47 — Jones checks in
Seventh offensive play: LeBron pull-up jumper. Miss.
Eighth offensive play: Wade push shot. Miss.
Ninth offensive play: LeBron jumper. Make.
10th play: Chalmers’ elbow play.
11th play: LeBron James three.
12th play: Ray Allen turnover.
13th play: LeBron drive, free throws.
4th QTR, 5:01: Jones checks out.
Jones missed his two shot attempts, but the fact that he found two WIDE OPEN three-point attempts in seven minutes should be viewed as a positive for the Heat. You know what Danny Green and Macro Belinelli do for the San Antonio Spurs offense? That’s essentially what Jones helps do with Miami’s. He’s a three-point specialist. Maybe a little more-so than the formers.
Though, building off the plus/minus stat, there’s also proof from the regular season backing up the reasoning behind giving Jones minutes in the Finals against the Spurs. Among active Heat, Chris Bosh and James Jones have the best plus/minus on the team. Albeit, it’s only a 109 minutes sample size, it’s something. Not far behind is LeBron’s and Jones’ paring with a 27.5 in 129 minutes.
The Heat ran two plays, which appeared to be for Jones — or at least was an option.
Here is the first:
The amount of space that Jones has when he takes the three-point shot is unprecedented for a Spurs defense. That ins’t the norm. Again, could be that San Antonio wasn’t exactly prepared for the Heat to go to Jones. Then again, the Heat could’ve fell upon something. Space an ball movement will do that.
Here is his second miss:
Again, wide open. With space.
Jones uses Wade as a decoy. Belinelli has to help on Wade because Manu Ginobili is fronting. He gets burned and Jones finds himself with wayyyyy too much room. Luckily, for the Spurs, he missed.
The Heat might have found something here.
This could potentially be the James Jones effect in this series. Again, this is a very small sample size — seven minutes, two shots. In the 13 offensive possessions that Jones was on the court for, the Heat scored 14 points.
Don’t expect Jones to drop 20 points in Game 3. He won’t be starting and he won’t be first off the bench.
Though, expect Spoelstra to play him a little more in Game 3. Spo is a smart coach. He’s going to test this Jones effect in this series. It could come in Game 3, it could not. But expect it sooner rather than later.