Throughout the NBA regular season and playoffs, all the focus on the success of the Miami Heat was on LeBron James along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. While James, Wade and Bosh were huge and crucial parts of the Heat’s success this season, they had the help of a strong supporting cast led by Mario Chalmers.
With Wade and James garnering much of the focus from defenses, Chalmers was often left open or mismatched on offense. With the ball in his hands, all Chalmers needed to do was play his game and he would be able to contribute. During the Heat’s repeat run, Chalmers played within his game and was a key part to their success.
After finishing the regular season with an average of 8.6 points per game with the occasional 20-plus point performance, including a season-high 34 points against the San Antonio Spurs in February, Chalmers entered the postseason as one of the Heat’s top “helpers”, if you will, to the “Big Three”.
Throughout the course of the postseason, Chalmers began to assert himself more offensively. After averaging just 6.5 points against the Milwaukee Bucks and 7.4 points against the Chicago Bulls, he came alive against the Indiana Pacers and the Spurs, averaging at least 10 points in both series.
Against the Pacers, Chalmers had at least 10 points in six of the seven games, including a 20-point outburst in game four. In that same series, he did a good job protecting the ball when it was in his hands by averaging just one turnover a game.
Defensively, he was just as stout. While his hustle and effort may not haves shown up in the stat-sheet, Chalmers chased after loose balls and was always scrapping and fighting for rebounds in that hard-fought seven-game Eastern Conference Finals series.
When the Heat made it past the Pacers and into the NBA Finals to take on the Spurs, Chalmers began to play his best basketball of the postseason. He averaged 10-points per game and two assists and two rebounds per game. In the Heat’s Game 2 victory, he had 19 points to go along with four rebounds. He had 20-points and four more rebounds in Miami’s clutch Game 6 victory.
Aside from the numbers, which are fun, Chalmers was timely with his good play. At the end of third quarter in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, he hit a running bank-shot 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give them the lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the final quarter of play, he had a key drive to the bucket which added to the Heat’s lead.
His hustle and effort were unmatched in the postseason except for maybe his teammate LeBron James. While James was the NBA Finals MVP, Mario Chalmers played a key support role in the Heat’s repeat run in 2013.