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Brash, big game hunter Mario Chalmers has been neither in these Finals

Jun 11, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

2014 NBA Finals - Game Three Getty Images

After Game 1 Eric Spoelstra was frustrated with Mario Chalmers because on a night depth was needed Chalmers was in foul trouble limiting his minutes.

Spoelstra should be even less happy now — Chalmers has been a virtual no show through three games of the NBA Finals.

Chalmers prides himself on unshakable confidence and stepping up in the big moments (as he has done since college), but he has averaged 3.3 points a game on 25 percent shooting through three Finals games against the Spurs. In Game 3 Chalmers was 0-of-3 on uncontested jumpers (he missed his two contested ones, too). When he is in the lineup the Heat’s offensive flow takes a noticeable hit and he has a defensive rating of 118.3 so far in the Finals, according to NBA.com’s stats.

Chalmers’ slump goes back a couple playoff series now. His teammates and Eric Spoelstra have talked about trying to boost his confidence, about telling him to just play the game and be himself. Just focus on one thing and do it well. But it hasn’t worked and the struggles seem to be weighing him down.

The brash, confident Chalmers didn’t sound it after the Heat got routed in Game 3.

Eric Spoelstra leaned more on Norris Cole, who brought much better energy to the position, but that’s about all. Cole had 8 points on 33.3 percent shooting and was -8 with some defensive lapses in Game 3.

During the season the Heat have had some success with no point guard lineups — a Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen backcourt where LeBron is the primary ball handler. That didn’t work against the Spurs in Game 3, those lineups were -9. Not that anything worked in Game 3 for the Heat.

Spoelstra’s problem is he has no good options here — Chalmers has been bad but Cole is not a guy the Heat have really trusted. The no PG lineups are not a long-term answer, they force Tony Parker into some difficult covers but they also can be a defensive challenge for the Heat.

What the Heat need is their “Rio” back.

And fast.

  1. finsfan71 - Jun 11, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    A couple of weeks ago I said I wouldn’t be missing Mario Chalmers if he left for free agency. I got hammered for it. I guess I must be a glutton for punishment because my opinion hasn’t changed.

    • duhwighthoward - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      He’s easily replaceable. That’s just the nature of the point guard position. There are far more talented six-foot basketball players than seven-foot basketball players.

      It’s funny you said glutton, because Chalmers looks about a dozen more donuts away from being Raymond Felton. He’s just not on the elite level of “hefty” players like Zach Randolph and Boris Diaw.

      • money2long - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        There’s talk patty mills can start in this league. Would beat fans rather mills or rio

      • money2long - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Heat*

      • antistratfordian - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        @money2long – Patty Mills thinks he’s a shooting guard, and he’s too much of a chucker to play for the Heat. And he’s a worse defender. Basically, he shoots too much. He averaged 22 shots per 100 possessions this year which is more than Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Chris Bosh and the same rate as D.Wade. Certain teams don’t mind a small guard shooting at such a high rate, but Miami isn’t one of them.

      • trevor123698 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        he averages that many shots because hes the man to shoot in the 2nd rotation of the spurs. do you watch them play?

  2. miamiHeatlesnotBeatles - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Chalmers will recover. He’s a Winner. Won championships in high school, college, and NBA. I believe he will have one of those games.

    • sprest83 - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      I think you mean, whiner.

      • gostlcards5 - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        Amen….I want to knock that look off his face every time he gets called for a foul….

    • raylewisandhisteeth - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      You said this same thing a few months ago and I punk’d you then. he is not a winner. He has the benefit of playing along side the Big Three. Mario is not a Top 10 PG. Not even close. A whiner and a cheap shot.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        Worst PG in the NBA.

      • norcalkingsfan - Jun 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        I don’t know. Have you check the LAL depth chart at the 1?

        Then there’s also Raymond Felton.

        Definitely top 3 worst.

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Had the Heat won last night, there would be 20 articles written by now. 19 of them would be hyping up Legina. SMH! Just call this site Heatlovers.com!
    Once again the bandwagon fans are no where to be found after a loss. Just like the thousands leaving the arena early last night. What a pathetic fan base.

    • robigd - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Lets be honest. Chalmers couldn’t start for 75% of the teams in this league.

      • cruzan80 - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        Actually 98% of the teams in the league if you use PER as the measuring stick….Only Raymond Felton (12.9) & Kendall Marshall (12.7) had a lower PER than Chalmers 14.1 PER.

        That being said….I actually think “PER” is a ridiculous & quit inaccurate barometer to judge players because it doesn’t truly reveal the players real value to the team. Dennis Rodman for example had a career PER of 13.1.

      • spursareold - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        PER is more of an offensive stat, which is why Rodman didn’t score well. That doesn’t explain Rio’s 14.1 score, though.

  4. bucrightoff - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    It’s somewhat problematic when your opponent has three point guards better than either of yours.

    • packergator - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      Definitely a point of emphasis during the summer – the Heat can’t rely on D-Wade to do it for them consistently anymore.

      Btw, it drives me nuts when the Heat say that they didn’t come out with the intensity they needed; it makes the casual fan wonder how much they really want this series.

  5. azarkhan - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Maybe next series-

    reesesteel23 – Jun 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM
    Cole should be taking Patty Mills lunch money in this series.

    • robigd - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      Due to Mills limited minutes, he gives the Spurs amazing energy. Although not a good defender, he pesters the other PG and is fearless on offense.

      • spursareold - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        He stays in front of his man, and comes up with a decent amount of steals. I’m not sure you can ask a whole lot more on D from your backup PG.

        Oh, and it’s not the limited minutes that fires his energy. He played starter minutes when TP was out for a couple of weeks. His energy level is ALWAYS that high. Being from Australia, one of the fan nicknames for him is TAZ!

  6. sumkat - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Chalmers is the 5th guy that a defense is worried about when playing the Heat (MAYBE 4 when Anderson is on the floor). He’s just not very good. It’s ok, they don’t need him to be very good. They have James, Wade and Bosh for that. They just need him to not get destroyed too much. He’s 50/50 as far as that goes when playing against good competition.

    There’s nothing wrong with it, he is what he is. He is an, at best, average NBA point guard (I think that’s being a little generous, I’d call him below average). But to act like “wow, I can’t believe he’s not playing better”….There is a reason that they have him switching off of Parker, because he would make him look silly

  7. dvic13 - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Chalmers is an even more annoying, whiny player than Wade. More people would know that if he was worth talking about.

  8. theebadguy - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    This hole is possibly gonna cost them a title

  9. willkill4caffeine - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Please, God, hire an Editor. Or send your rough drafts to me, I’ll proof-read them for Christ’s sake. When the very first word in your story is a mistake, and it’s followed in close succession by at least 4 others…you should seriously consider it.

    • norcalkingsfan - Jun 11, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      He has no idea how to use a comma either.

      • urallstupid - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        that’s why he writes blogs for a living.

  10. daubs17 - Jun 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Notice they lose and LeBron doesnt come out in one of his flamboyant costumes with his fedora, leopard skin wrap and lenseless frames. Ha this stuff writes itself

  11. heat0212 - Jun 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Quite honestly If Chalmers leave the Miami Heat today I don’t think he’ll be chosen starter for any of the 29 teams in the NBA.

  12. antistratfordian - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Chalmers really isn’t playing much different than he was last year. He does live for big moments, and fortunately for him as the series goes on the moments are just going to get bigger. And besides, in a game where San Antonio led by 25 and won by 19, Rio only had a plus-minus of -2. In Game 3 last year Chalmers was also 0-5 from the field, but ended up a -19.

    So I’m not overly concerned about Rio at this point.

  13. rohlo - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    smh!!! the heat could have found much better options last off season for backup point gaurds than norris cole!!! norris cole is the biggest scrub!! ive been sayign it since last years finals!! even during the season they the heat could have gotten aaron brooks from the rockets as he was available.as a rockets fan brooks would prob have been better than chalmers as well den most definitely bigger upgrade than norris the scrub cole!!!! cole has been horrible and is a momentum killer when the heat are on runs!

  14. southbeachtalent - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Fans are just dumb. We’ve seen tons of playoff series’ and after every game we have no perspective what so ever. Just plain dumb. We lost this game last year by 35. Get a grip.

    • spursareold - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      On the road. You lost game 3 on the road last year. It’s a huge difference, getting bent over on the road, or in front of your fans.

  15. divan22 - Jun 11, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Who’s Eric Spoelstra? Any relation to Erik?

  16. realfootballfan - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Imo, he’s the most important Heat role player because Cole is simply ineffective against the Spurs. It’s no coincidence that when he was in the lineup in the 4th quarter in game 2, the defense was more stifling. I think that’s why Spoelstra tried to get him involved early the other night at home.

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