We all knew James Jones could shoot. We just didn't expect to see it in round one of the playoffs.
This afternoon, Miami HEAT coach Erik Spoelstra unveiled his predicted starters but he also raised questions with his bench choices. There, next to Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Ray Allen sat Rashard Lewis and James Jones.
Today there would be no Shane Battier or comeback kid Greg Oden, they in turn having to watch on as the unexpected Jones reminded us all why he has held a place on the Miami Heat payroll for several seasons.
At first it didn't look so promising for Miami. After watching three of the first four home court teams going down in the first day of the playoffs, you wouldn't have been out of pale questioning if this too was the recipe for today's schedule.
Charlotte were ready and considering this was only their second ever playoffs appearance you'd expect them not to be anything less.
Up 21-14 early in the first quarter, Al Jefferson looked ready to put aside his past franchise failures and make something of this Bobcats team until he he limped off to the locker room, with what was diagnosed as planter fasciitis.
After the match it was revealed Spoelstra chose Jones because of Charlotte's tight defense when in the paint. He knew it would be a concern, so he put his faith in the former University of Miami basketball alumni. And while the baby-faced Jones is in fact turning 34 later this year, it wasn't all positive for Jones. At times he failed to match the footwork of opponent Kemba Walker and was exposed when Walker drained a high 3-pointer.
Still, he knows Miami better than most, now in his sixth season on with the Heat. Jones finished with 12 points and an all but guaranteed bench spot in the Heat's next game against the Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Udonis Haslem who started failed to make the impact expected and could find himself on the bench in a swap with Jones, though that seems unlikey. Despite Jones being a 2x Champion he still had no clue if he would be named today even though he'd been inserted sparingly in recent weeks.
"He's one of those unique players that you can pull out of the bullpen. Not many guys have his mentality" Sploelstra said post match.
"He was definitely the next guy we would've gone to (in 2Q) but he certainly gave us a spark."
After watching his shooting today, you wouldn't have known coming into round one Jones had only appeared in 20 games this season (three less than Oden) averaging only 11.8 minutes. On the plus side, in those short stints, he shot 51.9% outside the paint.
It wasn't all positive for Jones however, at times he failed to match the footwork of opponent Kemba Walker and at times looking like he was on skates. It was his confidence from downtown however, that proved he deserved a spot in the game.
"It's a part of my routine and a part of my job to stay consistent," said Jones afterwards.
While Miami can tick this box, 15 more wins are still required in order to lift their third consecutive trophy. But this round 1 strategy is sure to be shifted dependent upon whether Miami meet the Brooklyn Nets or Toronto Raptors in the next round.
But, In the meantime, we're just happy it's the other James that usually fits the bill.