Chalmers inspires James, Heat in Game 2
by Alex Kennedy, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Mario Chalmers drew the foul, made the basket and walked over to LeBron James with something to say.
“I felt like we had them on the ropes at the time,” the Miami Heat point guard said of his third-quarter and-one. “I told him, ‘Let’s go for the kill.’ He said, ‘I’m with you.’
“My mindset was just do what I can for the team and go from there.”
There was plenty to like for the Heat on Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, when they dispatched the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 to even the series. Every player saw the floor for at least five minutes, and the Big 3 of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played well.
But the most encouraging signs came from Chalmers, who scored a game-high 19 points. The 27-year-old more than doubled his production from Game 1, when he had just eight points. Chalmers was 6-for-12 from the field, attacking the basket more than he typically does.
Chalmers may be the key to this series, forcing the Spurs to account for the lead guard while also defending Tony Parker.
“He attacked and in the pick-and-roll situation, they’re going under and he’s getting to the paint and making those shots,” Heat guard Ray Allen said. “That forces them to react. And when they have to react, someone else has to help and that’s when there’s a trickle-down effect and our offense starts to kick in. Then, myself, Mike, Bird and CB get shots and that’s really the cadence of how the offense should be.”
Chalmers’ aggression forced Parker, the second-team All-NBA point guard and the Spurs’ offensive leader, to play defense. That extra effort may have played a role in Parker’s 5-for-14 for 13 points with five turnovers in Game 2, after his sterling Game 1 effort including the shot to seal the victory.
“Rio, he has to play big for us in multiple facets,” James said. “I think that especially defensively, he’s guarding arguably the best point guard in the league. But I think he also has to make Tony work on the defensive end. He can’t be passive. … [For more on Mario Chalmers inspires LeBron James, Heat in Game 2, click here.]