With LeBron sidelined, Chalmers comes through to dominate the 4th quarter.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Mario will not be denied.
One thing Mario Chalmers has never lacked is confidence. On a team star studded with sure-fire Hall-of-Famers, he still humbly sees himself as a go-to option and in game 4 he showed the world why.
Game 4 was like a lot of the Thunder vs. Heat series, ugly, grinding, hard-nosed basketball. These are the types of games where it's tough for the refs to not get involved. On every play bodies are going flying. This is a Finals dominated by names like Wade, Durant, James, Westbrook, Bosh, and Harden, but Mario added Chalmers to the mix in a big way Tuesday night.
Chalmers came into a virtually tied game and dominated the 4th quarter wit h 12 points including a clutch layup with under a minute to go to push Miami on to victory. He ended the game with 25 points on 9-15 shooting and 3-9 from downtown. When LeBron went out of the game with cramps, it wasn't Wade, but Chalmers that took over the game. His confidence is perhaps his greatest strength. And although he's the 4th or 5th option on this high-powered offense, he knows how to turn it on when it counts. If Miami goes on to win the NBA Championship this year, let the record show it was Chalmers that brought them game 4.
Photo Credit: AP NEWS
It wasn't pretty, but it's still a win.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Miami has the momentum up 2-1 and homecourt advantage. Maybe the King will finally be crowned.
The Heat started off strong building a 20-26 first quarter lead, but as we all know Oklahoma has a history of starting slow. The Thunder game roaring back winning the 2nd and 3rd quarters to set up the fourth quarter showdown we've all come to expect in these playoffs.
The Thunder didn't quite look like themselves going into the 4th. James Harden was having a horrible game with just 9 points on 2-10 shooting and Kevin Durant had sad a large portion of the 2nd and 3rd quarters with early foul trouble in the game.
On the other side of the ball, LeBron was able to get good looks largely inside the paint. When LeBron receives the ball from 17 feet and in, his shooting percentages go way up. In game three LeBron lived in the paint in the first half. This is a recipe for success as it give him more confidence in knocking down the jumper when it presents himself, but prevents his settling for long fade-away shots the Thunder are relieved to see him attempt.
In the 4th it was really anyone's game. The Heat build up a 7 point lead with about 5 minutes left and it looked like Miami would cruise to their second NBA Finals win, but 30 seconds and 2 Wade turnovers later it was a 1 point game. Sefolosha is a defensive machine and has proved capable of picking Wade's pocket multiple times late in games.
In the end Miami won it at the free throw line. It wasn't the most glamorous win in NBA history watching LeBron and Wade knock down free throws, but it was still a win. LeBron ended up with 29 points and 14 rebounds as Wade had 25 points. Durant had 25 points on limited minutes due to foul trouble and Russell Westbrook 19 points.
Game 4 is in Miami on Tuesday.
Photo Credit: AP NEWS