Chalmers shines in Game 1 win (Basketball)
Never one to shy away from the big stage, Mario Chalmers of Anchorage delivered the goods in his first appearance in the NBA Finals.
The third-year Miami Heat point guard played 29 minutes and scored 12 points in a 92-84 Game 1 win over visiting Dallas.
Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, knocked down three 3-pointers and helped the Heat enjoy a 27-17 advantage in bench scoring.
He is no stranger to excelling when it matters most. He bagged a couple state championships in high school and won a NCAA championship with the University of Kansas, an overtime victory set up by his clutch 3-pointer on the last play of regulation.
Still, he admitted to being nervous prior to the game.
Maybe it’s because he’s the first Alaskan to play in the NBA Finals or the fact that if he wins he would become the first Alaskan to win titles at the high school, college and pro level.
“I couldn’t even take my pregame nap or anything,” Chalmers told the Miami Herald. “I had some jitters. But I just said to myself, keep shooting and relax.”
The 6-foot-2 ballhandler replaced an ineffective starter early on before basically owning the second half, when the Heat made its move.
His jump shot and defense kept him on the court. He was especially effective against J.J. Barea, holding the Mavs’ sparkplug to basically nothing. Barea has schooled plenty of players this postseason, but Chalmers used his muscle and hustle to dominate tonight’s matchup.
“The main thing was to keep a body on him at all times,” Chalmers told the Miami Herald. “We watched a lot of film on him and what he had done during the playoffs. We had to make sure he didn’t get easy baskets.”