It was his first game since November 27th.
Why the long absence? We aren’t really sure...we can speculate. But it was only his 7th game of the season and only the 4th game logging double-digit minutes. But when Jimmy Butler was inactive due to a back issue, the Heat already without Justise Winslow and Kelly Olynyk struggling to do anything positive for him — he got his numbered called on Sunday night when the Heat hosted the Blazers.
And James Johnson immediately made an impact, hitting his first shot, a three from the corner...later splashing another from the top of the key, and playing some needed tough defense on Carmelo Anthony.
It was a breathe of fresh air to be out there seeing him play again. Eric Reid said it in the broadcast, there has always been a role for James on this team, it’s just finding the right time.
With the young guys and the team playing so well to start the season, it didn’t help Johnson’s case. He came into training camp not in the right shape and it made him “banished” from camp. Pat Riley wasn’t messing around with Culture this year. Since then, it has seemed James hasn’t found his spot with the team.
But he has shown his professionalism and stayed ready and been a good teammate, from what we can see. And when he had his chance he cashed in a good game.
12 points on 4-5 FG with 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 22 minutes.
That’s a solid night from a guy off the bench who has zero plays called for him. Is this the start of Johnson back in the Heat rotation? It’s probably too early to tell, but that is the question.
Johnson provides a different set of skills than Kelly Olynyk and also provides an extra ball handler for the Heat. This could be a short-stent or it could be something that becomes more of a rotation-change when it comes to the minutes between him and Olynyk.
Should James Johnson be in the rotation?
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Tell us what you think! Do you want to see more James Johnson?