Mario Chalmers pulled a LeBron tonight
That’s what one tweet said following Chalmers’ 29-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound, three-steal, one-block explosion on Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Chalmers’ best statistical game of the year — and possibly his four-year NBA career — came as superstar Miami Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (known for filling up the stat sheet) sat out with injuries. It fell to Chalmers and teammate Chris Bosh to carry the Heat, and Chalmers responded with play after play that extended the game into three overtimes. The Heat won 116-109, thanks to Chalmers’ efforts in his whopping 49 minutes on the court.
Chalmers made 10 of 21 shots overall, 3 of 11 three-pointers and 6 of 6 free throws. He also had four turnovers and four fouls, which aren’t nearly as damning when spread out among 49 minutes (full game stats and play-by-play here).
In the first three quarters, Chalmers shot the ball eight times for just seven points. Then, in the fourth quarter, Chalmers backed up his clutch credentials and scored nine points, including six of the Heat’s final eight points before overtime. During overtime, Chalmers scored 13 points — the most of any player in the game. His three-pointer at the beginning of the third overtime put the Heat ahead for good, and he finished with five of the seven total points scored in that final period.
Chalmers registered a +24 in plus-minus, which means the Heat outscored the Hawks by 24 points when Chalmers was on the court.
After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised his starting point guard:
"He grew up in front of our professional eyes tonight," Spoelstra said.
The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds pointed out on Twitter that Chalmers’ stat line puts him in some impressive company:
Chalmers: 29p, 8a, 7r, 3s. Others to do so since 09: LeBron (8), Westbrook (2), Monta, Wade (3), Curry (2), Iguodala, CP3, Rose, Jennings.
Chalmers finished one point shy of his career-high in points (30 on Nov. 20, 2009), tied his career high in rebounds (fifth time with seven boards), finished with a new career-high in field goals made (10; previous high was 9), field goals attempted (21; previous high was 16) and three-pointers attempted (11; previous high was 10).
Surprisingly, Chalmers’ 49 minutes on the court were not a career-high. During his rookie season, on March 14, 2009, Chalmers played 53 minutes in a triple overtime game against the Utah Jazz. Chalmers scored 23 points in that game.
And would you believe the Associated Press didn't publish any photos of Chalmers on the wire on Thursday night? If you want to see Mario mugging for the camera after big shots (and who doesn't?), check out this photo gallery on the Heat's website.
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) started the second game in a row for the Bucks as usual starting center Andrew Bogut remained away from the team for personal reasons. Gooden played 33 minutes, scored 18 points and collected nine rebounds, but the Bucks gave up a 21-point halftime lead and lost 103-100 to the Sacramento Kings.
Gooden shot 6 for 13 from the field but hit only 6 of 10 free throws down the stretch. He also added two assists, two steals and four turnovers, including a behind-the-back-dribble-charge (full stats here).
After the game, Gooden took some blame for the Bucks’ collapse. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"I'm going to take the onus on myself," Gooden said. "I feel like there were a couple plays I could have made down the stretch to help us pull out that win.
"Missing free throws. I can't miss free throws down the stretch. And I've got to be more aggressive. I should have had confidence in my game to stay with it."
The Bucks play next on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s still unknown whether Bogut will be back with the team or if Gooden will make another start.
KUSports.com commenter Kubie asked about the latest on Tyrel Reed, who last played in Belgium’s D-1 league with VOO Verviers-Pepinster. According to Eurobasket.com, Reed decided to leave the team in mid-December. The report was dated Dec. 20, so there’s a chance the situation might have changed since then.
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored nine points with four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 32 minutes against the Texas Legends on Thursday (full stats here). Morningstar shot just 3 for 9 from the field (missed his only three) with three free throws, but the 66ers still handled the Legends, 107-86.
Greg Ostertag (NBA D-League - Texas Legends) started his first game for the Legends on Thursday as they took on the Tulsa 66ers. Ostertag finished with four points, seven rebounds, three assists and a block in 22 minutes (full stats here).
Mario Little (Ukraine-Superleague - SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk - Ukraine) scored 12 points with six assists and six rebounds in 30 minutes on Thursday. Little shot 4 for 9 from the field (1 of 3 threes) and 3 of 4 free throws (full stats here). His team’s next game will be on Jan. 15.
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor - Turkey) played Wednesday and scored 11 points (3 of 9 overall, 1 of 4 threes, 4 of 6 free throws) with six assists, three steals and a rebound in 26 minutes (full stats here). Robinson will play next on Jan. 7.
Marcus Morris (NBA D-League - Rio Grande Valley Vipers) will play his first NBADL game tonight at 7 vs. the Dakota Wizards. The game will be streamed online for free at the official D-League website.
NBA All-Star Game ballots were released on Wednesday. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) is the only former Jayhawk on the list, but the good folks at NBA.com gave you the option to write in any of your favorite former Jayhawks. Nick Collison, Western Conference All-Star, anyone? Vote here before Jan. 31.
6:30 p.m., Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Indiana Pacers
7 p.m., Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich (possible DNP) and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Houston Rockets
8 p.m., Josh Selby (possibly DNP) and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Utah Jazz
9:30 p.m., ESPN, Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Portland Trailblazers
9:30 p.m., Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Lakers