Mario Chalmers’ teammates were yelling at him again, as were a few coaches. Dwyane Wade threw a towel his way, and LeBron James even placed the Miami Heat point guard in a headlock.
This was all good.
Chalmers put on a shooting display to remember in Sacramento on Saturday night, making 10 3-pointers – the most in the NBA this season and good enough to tie a 20-year-old Heat franchise record, part of his career-best 34-point effort as Miami topped the Kings 128-99, the biggest point total put up so far this season by the reigning NBA champions.
“Rio had it goin’, man,” James said. “And we kept finding him. It was awesome.”
Chalmers’ final numbers: 12 for 16 from the floor, 10 for 13 from beyond the arc, and one of those misses was a 45-footer that bounced off the rim just before the halftime buzzer. He’s long been the player that teammates love to chastise on the floor when things aren’t going right for the Heat, though moments like that have become increasingly rare this season.
And on Saturday no one could have thought of any complaints anyway.
“I got started early,” said Chalmers, who had made 10 of his last 33 tries from 3-point range before his barrage against the Kings. “I started off with two easy layups, and then my teammates did a good job of finding me open behind the 3.”
Sure enough, Chalmers’ first two baskets Saturday were at the rim, and then everything else was from long range.
For the Heat, it was a bounce-back game after two straight losses.
For Chalmers, it was a bounce-back effort after a chance to be a hero in Portland one game earlier went awry.
The Heat trailed by two with 10.4 seconds left Thursday night against the Trail Blazers, and on a final possession where Wade, James and Chris Bosh all touched the ball, the last shot went to Chalmers – wide open from the right wing. His 3-pointer looked so good that Wade prematurely started to extend his arms in celebration, but the shot hit the back of the rim, then the front, then bounced away as time expired.
Chalmers walked off the floor, his head down.
One game later, he was back, and in a big way.
“I just wanted to get back into a good rhythm,” said Chalmers.