Hey, players concerned with your own stats who don't want to toss up prayers at the end of quarters, lest a likely miss nudge down your field-goal percentages: Take some corrective inspiration from Mario Chalmers.
If Chalmers hadn't heaved up running prayers at the end of the first quarters of Games 3 and 5, he'd be shooting a good, but not amazing, 38.5 percent from long range in the NBA Finals. But because he did, and because those prayers were answered, Chalmers is shooting an excellent 42.9 percent from deep, including a lovely 46.7 percent mark on above-the-break 3-pointers, according to NBA.com's StatsCube.
Let this be a lesson: In the NBA Finals, fortune (and field-goal percentage, it seems) favors the bold. And make no mistake about it — the Miami Heat's backup point guard has definitely been bold.
The former University of Kansas standout has taken 28 3-pointers in the Finals' first five games, more than any other player in the series — Jason Kidd leads Dallas with 25 tries, and LeBron James (23, funnily enough) is the only other Finals participant with more than 20 3-balls. He's hit three or more attempts in three of the series' five contests, scoring in double-figures each time, which makes him the only member of the Heat not named James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh to reach double digits more than once in the series.
As The Morning Jones' Bomani Jones has grown fond of saying throughout the Finals, Chalmers has proven to be absolutely unafraid of the moment, a quality well worth celebrating since the dominant storyline of the past 72 hours seems to be decrying its perceived absence in his teammate. In fact, after Wade left with a hip contusion at the 2:58 mark of the first quarter, the stage seemed to be set for James to start dominating the ball and acting like a one-man gang. Instead, Chalmers — who entered for Mike Bibby at the same whistle — led the Heat in those final three minutes with six points, including the end-of-quarter bomb, and an assist. (To be fair, James did post a rebound and an assist.)
After turning the ball over twice and dishing just one assist in Game 1, Chalmers has been much better with the ball, too. He's notched 13 helpers and five cough-ups since the series opener to give himself a nice 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the Finals, and he seems to be seeing the floor better in half-court sets. He's also been a pest on defense, using quick feet and quick hands to nab six steals in five games, and routinely showing himself to be just about the only Miami defender capable of staying in front of Dallas jitterbug J.J. Barea.
A pure stroke from deep, improved ball-handling and decision-making, strong on-ball and help defense and 25-year-old legs that can go for miles and miles. Remind me, again, why he's still playing behind Mike Bibby?
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse the long ball elsewhere, courtesy of our friends at the National Basketball Association.
- Mario Chalmers