While one segment of basketball fandom was settling in for its first glimpse of Julius Randle against top-flight competition and a reminder that, while talent matters most, experience and Tom Izzo matter too, some of us were hunkering down to watch the two-time defending champion Miami Heat take on a Milwaukee Bucks team without injured center Larry Sanders. While the action wasn't as pregnant with possibility as an early-season college contest featuring scores of heavily hyped freshmen, it did feature LeBron James, which is, y'know, still pretty good.
James and Heat point guard Mario Chalmers seemed to find their rhythm early against the Bucks' unsettled defense, with James finding Chalmers over the top on a simple but precise timing play from the left elbow:
Chalmers soon returned the favor in more eye-catching fashion, starting with this nutmeg on Bucks small forward Khris Middleton to reward LeBron for dealing his work early and getting a nice seal on the block:
But Mario saved his best helper for LeBron on the break, which seems like a wise use of one's passing talents:
"I was ready for whatever," James said. "Once he threw the ball up there, I couldn't let him have a turnover, had to go get it."
Chalmers briefly considered throwing the pass off the glass.
"Any time you get LeBron easy baskets, the game gets simple for him," Chalmers said.
It sure didn't seem that hard for him for most of Tuesday night:
James finished with a game-high 33 points on 13 for 21 shooting in 30 minutes as Miami steamrolled Milwaukee, 118-95, to improve to 5-3 on the season. He added two assists, both going to Chalmers; four of Chalmers' seven dimes (to go with 15 points and four rebounds) went to LeBron. Friendship is rare, but it can be rewarding, too.
Chalmers also grabbed four steals, putting in fourth place in Heat franchise history in that department, according to Winderman. He also sure seemed to enjoy watching his alma mater pull out a big prime-time win:
Rooooooooooock chalkkkkkkkkk Jayhawk kuuuuuuuuuuuu wooooooooooooo. Big win for my fellas. Let's build on this win and keep goin.
— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) November 13, 2013
And I think I understand why:
Not a bad night, Mario. Maybe not as much fun as fellow former Jayhawk Xavier Henry, but definitely better than fellow former Jayhawk Jeff Withey. Somewhere on that spectrum, for sure.
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