Chalmers comes up big for Heat in Game 2

Chalmers comes up big for Heat in Game 2
June 10, 2013, 12:15 am
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Mario Chalmers drives past Tony Parker in Game 2. Chalmers led all scorers with 19 points.

(AP Photo)

MIAMI — From the time he arrived in the NBA as a second-round pick in 2008, confidence has never been something Mario Chalmers has lacked.

Cocky.

Confident.

It doesn't matter if you can back it up by your play.

Chalmers did just that in Miami's 103-84 Game 2 victory over San Antonio, transforming himself from a Game 1 non-factor into the difference-maker Sunday night.

He led all players with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting.

Even more important, it was Chalmers delivering what was the breakthrough moment of the Finals for Miami when he converted a three-point play near the end of the third quarter that gave the Heat a double-digit lead - its first of the series.

"I felt like we had them on the ropes at that time," said Chalmers who added, "it just gave everybody that mental edge to go for the kill. We wanted to put them away and send them a message."

Message sent.

The Heat needed a big night from Chalmers who like many of the Heat's guards, had his problems at both ends of the floor in Game 1.

Chalmers had eight points on 3-for-10 shooting in Game 1. But just as significant, he and the rest of Miami's guards struggled defensively against Tony Parker who had 21 points in Game 1 but was held to just 13 on Sunday night.

"You have to give a lot of credit to their defense," said Parker who shot just 5-for-14 from the field. "They played great defense tonight."

There was no escaping the fact that Parker had outplayed Chalmers and the rest of the Heat guards badly in Game 1.

Still, Chalmers said Parker's strong performance in Game 1 didn't provide him any added incentive or motivation to play well Sunday night.

"It was the fact that we lost Game 1," Chalmers said. "We never want to lose, especially in the Finals. My mindset was just do what I can for the team and go from there."

Chalmers coming up big in the Finals is nothing new.

In Game 4 of the NBA Finals last year against Oklahoma City, Chalmers had 25 points in Miami's 104-98 win. And in Miami's title-clinching Game 5 victory over the Thunder, he had 10 points and seven assists.
 
"He's got guts," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Chalmers. "He had that all the way in college. He's got incredible confidence in his game. He's shown that throughout the years."

That confidence manifests itself in many ways at different times.

On Sunday, it was near the end of the third quarter with the Heat starting to pull away despite LeBron James having a sub-par shooting game.

Chalmers walked towards midcourt with a succinct message for James: let's go for the kill.

And James' response?

"I'm with you,'" Chalmers recalled.

From there, Miami outscored San Antonio 28-19 in the fourth quarter with their lead in the fourth peaking at 27 points.

As much as the Heat rely on James when it comes to winning, it is the play of role players like Chalmers that will be a factor in this series.

It certainly was on Sunday.

"Rio [Chalmers], he has to play big for us in multiple facets," James said.

But to do that, there has to be a high level of confidence which is something that Chalmers has plenty of which comes in handy when you're playing with a bunch of all-stars.

"You have to have guts to play with our guys," Spoelstra said. "If you don't, you get swallowed up. The good thing about it is the other guys were fine with him making plays. That might be different the next game. As they make adjustments, everybody has got to be live. Him [Chalmers] being aggressive helps us, no question."