CLEVELAND -- Most teams around the sports world have some form of analytics that are used to help in the decision-making process, but there are some players who transcend the percentages and statistics and flourish no matter how the numbers are interpreted.
And according to Cleveland Cavaliers small forward James Jones, long-time teammate LeBron James is one of those players.
“Analytics have nothing to do with LeBron,” Jones said following the Eastern Conference Finals. “He doesn’t take shots based on percentages. He plays the game. Everything that he does is off of feel.
“If he feels that the best shot is the three or a layup, whatever it is, he’s just playing the game, and that’s what makes it unique. There’s nothing out there that’s forced. There’s nothing out there that’s preplanned. He just plays the game and plays it the right way, and so, we always get the right result.”
For the seventh straight season, and fourth time with the Cavaliers, James has led a team to the NBA Finals.
Over an average of 40.9 minutes in 13 postseason games, James averaged 32.5 points on 56.6 percent shooting, including a 42.1 percent efficiency from three-point range along with a 71.2 percent showing from the free-throw line.
James converted 151 of his 267 field goal attempts and 32 of his 76 three-point tries, and got to the free-throw line for 125 shots, of which he knocked down 89.
As a leader on both ends of the floor, James averaged 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.2 steals over the first three rounds of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
In the closeout win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, James scored a game-high 35 points on 13-of-18 shooting, including a four-for-seven showing from three-point range, and that performance moved him past Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for first place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.
“You can try as much as you want, but he’s gotten to this point because he only thinks about what’s in front of him,” Jones said. “It’s never about what he’s done. It never will be about what he’s done because he’s only concerned about what he can do for his teammates.”
Following a barrage of long-distance shots from point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love, James pulled up for and buried a left-wing triple, which moved him past Jordan atop the NBA Playoffs scoring list.
For good measure, James added a right-wing three-pointer for Cleveland’s next basket, and then, pulled up from well beyond the arc and converted his third straight triple, en route to tallying the Cavaliers’ final nine points of the third quarter in the Game 5 win in Boston.
“We knew he needed two points to go, and when he did, we were excited for him,” Cavaliers guard Deron Williams said. “It seems like every time you look up, he’s breaking another record, but that one has to be special for him, to beat the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) in scoring in the playoffs, and at such a young age because he’s got a lot more in him.”
Center Tristan Thompson added, “I give MJ a lot of credit. He’s a bad man, but that man over there, 23, from Akron, he’s a bad bleep-bleep-bleep, so I’m happy for him. I hope when they show the film of how he passed him, I didn’t pass the initial pass to him, but I gave him the next pass, so hopefully, that makes the highlight film so I can show my kids that I actually did play with him.”