James Jones is off to Cleveland

(Photo Credit: www.espn.com)

Following in Mike Miller’s footsteps, James Jones is the latest former Miami Heat player to join LeBron James in Cleveland.

According to reports, after a bit of recruiting from James himself, Jones has agreed to sign a $1.4 million veteran’s minimum contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have also apparently reached out to Ray Allen but no decision has been made yet, as Allen may actually be ready to retire.

 

Monday Mailbag

With the Miami Heat blowing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, it seems a lot of Heat haters have once again found the courage to come out of the woodwork. However, instead of getting upset, I look forward to such times as for me, this automatically means interesting questions coming my way. So let us jump into another addition of “Monday Mailbag.”

You mention the Heat need to go to Norris Cole more in the playoffs. Who else could they be neglecting who could help win another title?

This is a great question, especially considering how much talent is currently on Miami’s roster. In the past, I may have answered with the fact that Mario Chalmers is a huge asset to the squad, so he should certainly be given the opportunity to show everyone what he is working with. Unfortunately, Chalmers has recently fallen flat, and he knows it too; his frustration was visible particularly in Sunday afternoon’s game. Therefore, I am now going to go ahead and put all my eggs into the James Jones basket. Personally, I feel as though Jones has proven himself time and time again to not only be a great shooter, but especially so in high-stress situations. Even LeBron James is scratching his head as to why Jones has not seen ample time this postseason. It is definitely time for Erik Spoelstra to put some faith in his second-string.

Currently the Heat are winless against the Pacers at home, while Indiana is 4-0 on the road in the playoffs. Will this have an effect on the series?

I will admit, those statistics scare me a little bit. But I will power through and start by saying that in the NBA, the regular season and postseason are two completely different ball games (pardon the pun). The Pacers being 4-0 on the road in the playoffs is impressive, and dangerous, but the fact that the Heat did not win a game in Indiana yet this season, should not mean anything. Game 1 of any series is a chance for both teams to feel each other out and see what they are going to be up against. Obviously the Heat may have underestimated their opponent but at the same time, with the roller coaster ride the Pacers have turned into, can you really blame them? Although Indiana may have proven to be stronger on the road than some other teams, they have had to fight for their lives during this postseason. So while on paper it may seem as though the Heat should be worried when the Pacers invade their home court, due to their inconsistencies and the fact that no one quite feeds off a crowd like James, the answer to your question is no.

The Heat did not once hold a lead in Game 1. What is the biggest change you need to make for Game 2?

Game 1 was a disaster, and from my point of view, most of this can be attributed to poor shot selection and Chris Bosh missing in action. I cannot exactly take anything away from the Pacers either; they certainly came ready to play on both ends of the court, their passion for the win seeping through their pores. Roy Hibbert finally found his groove again after being highly criticized for his terrible performances in Indiana’s last few games and CJ Watson acted like a true leader. Even though James and Wade had a combined 52 points (with James recording his second double-double of the postseason), the rest of the team may as well have been sitting on the bench. Too many of the shots that were taken were rushed, some even downright ridiculous, as if being part of a team as great as the Heat was enough to magically get a ball through a hoop. On top of this, Bosh had only nine points and was 0 of 5 from the three-point line (all five of these are shots I would put in the “ridiculous” category, by the way), somewhere he should probably stay away from if he can help it. Being a part of the Big Three is quite an honor so Bosh better start acting like it before Miami’s dream of a three-peat vanishes before his very eyes.

Monday Mailbag: “Playoff Edition”

For those of you unfamiliar with a “mailbag feature,” the basic idea is for a writer (in this case, me) to dig through their mail (or perhaps more commonly now, their emails) and extract a few questions to answer. Because I am new to the blogosphere and therefore have yet to receive any inquires, I have provided my own questions. So without further ado, let us jump into it.

Will a slow start become a habit for the Miami Heat?

It is no secret that the Heat had a rough start to game 1 against the Charlotte Bobcats. There was no rhythm, their pace was rushed, and their shots were forced. In fact, the team was almost unrecognizable. Obviously in the end they prevailed, but starting off in such a way is a gamble…no one wants to have to play catch up. With that, it is unlikely that the Heat will have this issue from here on out, and I this for three reasons. First, it was game 1 of the playoffs. Regardless of how talented a team you are, nerves are bound to run rampant. Plus it takes a minute to see what your opposition is made of. The Heat have also been subjected to 21 different starting lineups throughout the season. This would throw off any squad. Now that everyone is healthy, Miami can hopefully get back on track. And lastly, the Big Three have not practiced with one another (prior to Friday’s workout) in over a week. They are the glue that holds the team together, so when they are off, the whole team is too.

Should the Heat’s focus shift away from Al Jefferson now that he is injured?

In short, absolutely not. Al Jefferson was not at his best Sunday afternoon after being diagnosed with a strained plantar fascia, but that did not stop him from scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The big guy will admittedly be in pain, but has already begun treatment so the Heat should in no way overlook his ability or commitment to the series.

What will a comfortable rotation for the Heat eventually feel like?

The ideal situation would be for the Big Three to once again get comfortable with one another. Although individually they had good games, together they seemed out of sync. Udonis Haslem also needs to once again find his groove after sitting out for the entire month of February. After this, it will be key to find a few bench players who are consistently solid; there will be no room for streaky play. I believe Norris Cole will be crucial during this playoff run, and James Jones also showed a flash of brilliance yesterday, which he can hopefully keep up. The ultimate goal is to find a few rotations that always work, instead of Erik Spoelstra having to tweak things game after game because of inconsistent play.