Chalmers, Thomas go H-O-R-S-E in Heat rout
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Mario Chalmers must have eaten a giant mushroom Saturday.
The Miami Heat beat the Sacramento Kings 128-99 Saturday night. It was the kind of ridiculous game that may have left Sacramento wondering if it still wants the Kings. (OK, they definitely still want the Kings.) And Chalmers, the Heat point guard who is more irrelevant than maligned most nights, led the charge.
Chalmers scored a career-high 34 points, making 10 of 13 three-pointers and not relenting until late in the fourth quarter. The Heat had a 22-point lead by halftime, but coach Erik Spoelstra lets his players play.
But here’s the ridiculous thing: Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas matched Chalmers with his own career-high 34 points. Thomas was less efficient, finishing 13-for-22 from the field to Chalmers’ 12-for-16. But these guys entered Saturday averaging 17.6 points a game combined.
Chalmers in particular had been on a cold streak. He had scored 36 points in his previous eight games.
This was a classic case of escalation and one-upmanship. Chalmers was hot early, dropping 13 in the first quarter. But Thomas only had 10 to Chalmers’ 19 in the entire first half.
Then he went off, scoring 21 in the third quarter. He finished the quarter on a personal 12-5 run, making four three-pointers in the final two minutes to cut the deficit from 98-60 to a still-unmanageable 103-72.
Spoelstra kept Chalmers in the game, obviously wanting to encourage his confidence. And “Rio,” as Heat players call him, hit two more three-pointers before coming out with 2 minutes, 52 seconds to play. Thomas had been replaced with 4:58 left.
The box score stands as something absurd. The Heat finished with 35 assists. The game’s only double-double went to Kings rookie Thomas Robinson, who had seven of the team’s 16 offensive rebounds. The Heat made 17 threes, with the teams combining to shoot 26-for-55 (47.3%) from behind the arc.
Oh, and there was a 360-degree pass. Because LeBron James runs his transition game like that. And because that’s a pretty easy way to get Chalmers wide open for a three-pointer.… [For more on Mario Chalmers, Isaiah Thomas go H-O-R-S-E in Heat rout, click here.]