BOSTON -- James Jones may’ve committed the best foul of his career Monday night.
In a play that was easy to overlook in a game loaded with shot-making and missing and plenty of high drama, the Heat forward made a heady play that changed the game’s outcome.
After LeBron James had a costly turnover with a little more than 20 seconds remaining, Celtics’ guard Ray Allen grabbed the loose ball and appeared headed to the other end for a fast-break layup.
The game was tied and baskets were nearly impossible to come by in the grinding half-court slugfest. There was a strong chance that Allen’s potential breakaway would have decided the game. But it didn’t because of Jones and the Heat won 98-90 in overtime to take a 3-1 series lead.
Just after Allen grabbed the ball and was breaking into stride, Jones grabbed him from behind to halt the play. The strategy came in because Jones knew the Heat had a foul to give, meaning the Celtics just took the ball out of bounds and the Heat were able to set their defense.
“You have to know time and score and know the flow of the game,” Jones said. “You can’t give them easy baskets in that time of the game, it’s deadly.”
Jones was notified by Heat assistant coach Ron Rothstein of the foul situation in a timeout a few minutes before. But having that knowledge and making a split-second decision are two different things.
After the foul and a Celtics’ timeout, the Heat were able to get a stop and force overtime when isolation defense on Paul Pierce forced a miss.
“You make plays instinctively, sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re bad,” Jones said. “That one just happened to be a good one for us.”