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Miami’s James Jones wins 3-point shootout
Question of the Day
Jones, an eight-year veteran who rarely shoots inside the 3-point line, made five straight shots late in the final round with his consistent, ground-bound style. Just a supporting player on the star-laden Heat, Jones said he benefited from shooting first in the three-man final, relieving any pressure.
“Those guys were cheering for me, rooting for me,” said Jones, whose new-look Heat have lost three straight this season to the Celtics. “We know we’ve had our struggles against the Celtics in the past, but today the Heat came out on top, so I’m excited about that.”
Earlier, Golden State’s Stephen Curry beat Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook to win the Skills Challenge, and a three-person team from Atlanta won the Shooting Stars competition in the first event at the NBA All-Star weekend’s silly Saturday.
Although Jones is only tied for 15th in 3-pointers this season, the journeyman’s outside acumen is respected around the league. Jones has taken 259 shots for Miami this season _ and 220 of them were 3-point attempts, making 42.3 percent.
“Those shots that I was taking out there, they’re very reflective of how I play the game during the season,” Jones said. “So it was an easy transition for me. I think playing and shooting against some of the best competition in the league brought out the best in me.”
Allen led after the first round with 20 points from his sublimely fluid jumper, but Jones was right behind him with 16 points from his more workmanlike approach. Pierce pushed past Golden State’s Dorell Wright with his last money ball to reach the finals with 12 points.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, last season’s NBA scoring champion and the current scoring leader, was left wearing a sheepish grin after finishing dead last in the first round with just six points, making only 5 of 25 shots.
Jones hit four of the five money balls worth two points in his final round, making 16 of 25 shots overall. Pierce scored 18 points, but missed his final money ball, which could have tied it _ and Allen was out before he even reached the final rack in a 15-point performance.
By Mark Davis
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