It’s an annual tradition in the NBA: Some player who flew under the radar for most of the season steps up big in the playoffs and finals, then gets rewarded with an oversized contract by another team that falls in love with that performance.
Miami’s Mario Chalmers is the leading candidate to be that guy this year.
Chalmers has knocked down big shots in the finals and has defended well on the perimeter. And, he’s a free agent after this season. When asked about that by Hoopsworld, Chalmers gave the standard answer involving family.
“It’s up to everybody,” Chalmers said about his possible return to the HEAT. “I love playing here. I would love to stay here, but, I mean, I’ve got to do what’s best for me and my family.”
Chalmers made $854,389 this past season and while there is a $1.1 million qualifying offer out there according to Sham Sports, Chalmers will get to test the market (whenever the lockout ends).
Chalmers has hit big shots in the playoffs — something he has done since helping Kansas to the national title in college — but during the regular season averaged 6.4 points per game on 39.9 percent shooting. He hit 35.9 percent of his threes, which is by far where most of his shot attempts come from.
Chalmers is a good defender, which matters a lot, but he is not going to give you consistent offense.
But some team always falls in love with these finals performances and overpays.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.