In his effort to emphasize or maybe even exaggerate how much confidence he has in the three-point shooting abilities of Wayne Ellington, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has said on occassion he would love to see the 30-year-old veteran put up 20 three pointers in a game.
Ellington came close Wednesday, launching a franchise-record 17 three-point attempts in an overtime loss to the Kings. The Heat as a team set a franchise mark with 43 three-point attempts in the game. But just because he made a little history on a team setting franchise records for three-pointers taken doesn’t mean Ellington necessarily felt good about it.
“Honestly man I was just lost in the game,” said Ellington, who made six threes and finished with 22 points in the game. “I didn’t even realize I had that many attempts. The overtime added a few on to it. It was a little uncomfortable seeing that number when I saw [the boxscore] after the game. 17, it’s a lot. But it feels great for Spo to continue to encourage me. Even when we’re at 17, he wants to get me to 20.”
Ellington’s 17 three-point attempts Wednesday are tied with James Harden for the second-most in a game this season. Brooklyn’s Allen Crabbe attempted 18 threes in a game versus the Pelicans on Feb. 10.
Ellington has had 21 games over his two seasons with the Heat in which he’s attempted 10 or more threes in the game. That’s tied with Tim Hardaway for the most in team history. Hardaway owns the single season record with 590 three-point attempts (1996-97).
Of Ellington’s 587 shot attempts this season, 491 have come from three-point range. That means 83.6 percent of his shots are coming from beyond the arc. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the NBA instituted the three-point line during the 1979-80 season, no player has ever shot at least 82 percent of their shots from beyond the arc (at least 400 attempts). The highest percentage was Steve Novak when 81.6 percent (351 of 430) of his shots were from three-point range during the 2012-13 season.
Spoelstra said he had no problem with the number of attempts Ellington took Wednesday. He felt most were good looks as the Heat rallied from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to take the lead before losing to Sacramento in overtime.
“He was so close [to reaching 20],” Spoelstra said with a smile. “How beautiful was that last one to put us up by four [110-106]? That by definition is the ball will find energy. We were dead, stuck, did not have an open look, looked like it was going to be a shot clock violation, Wayne sensed that and sprinted from the corner, there was no other play to make but to pitch it back to him. Those are habits that are built upon hours, upon hours, upon hours when no one’s watching.
“It’s fine [we took that many threes]. We’ve had some games we were really able to attack the paint. They did a pretty good job of shutting off those opportunities. Our threes I felt were really good looks.”
JONES JR. BACK WITH HEAT
The Heat on Friday called up forward Derrick Jones Jr. from the G-League to add depth to the roster. Jones Jr. has three days left on his 40-day two-way contract before the Heat would have to release someone on its 15-man roster to keep him.
On Monday, Jones Jr. scored a game-high 33 points with five rebounds, three asssits, three steals and three blocks in a win over the Salt Lake City Stars. He’s appeared in seven games this season for the Heat and averaged 3.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 18.0 minutes. In 27 G League games (21 starts), he’s averaging 17.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.74 blocks, 1.22 steals and 29.0 minutes while shooting 49.6 percent from the field.
Jones said he doesn’t really pay attention to how many days he has left available for the Heat to us between call-ups.
“I just go about my day as I usually would, come into the gym, doing what I love to do, and being able to play the game that I love to play,” Jones said Friday. “I’m always willing to come here and I have no problem with that. I love it here and I love it in both places, Sioux Falls and Miami.”