Mario Chalmers falls back to earth; Marcus Morris scores 30+ again in D-League
For all the hype that surrounded Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers’ 29-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound explosion on Thursday, Chalmers didn’t do much for an encore on Saturday, even as Heat guard Dwyane Wade sat out again. Instead, Chalmers struggled with foul trouble after returning from an early shoulder injury and finished with just seven points in 18 minutes against the New Jersey Nets.
Though he attempted only four shots all game, Chalmers still put up decent stats in his limited time on the court. He registered four rebounds, two steals and seven assists to just one turnover (full stats here). But a first-quarter shoulder injury and five personal fouls cut his night short.
Chalmers bruised his right shoulder just three minutes into the game and sat out for the rest of the quarter. He re-entered the game with eight minutes left in the second quarter, played the rest of the half and picked up two fouls, including one just four seconds before halftime.
In a three-minute span to start the third quarter, Chalmers committed two more fouls and did not play again until 7:41 in the fourth quarter. Chalmers played just one minute before being called for his fifth personal foul AND a technical foul for arguing with the official.
Rookie Norris Cole, the Heat’s only other point guard, played 30 minutes in Chalmers’ absence, but he shot the ball poorly (4 of 13) and also committed five fouls. Luckily for both guards, Miami led the entire game, forward LeBron James returned from injury and the Heat beat the Nets, 101-90.
- Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) scored at least 18 points for the third straight game as the Bucks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 92-86, on Saturday. Gooden, who has started in center Andrew Bogut’s place in those three games, also added 13 rebounds, a steal and a three-pointer in 29 minutes (full stats here).
On Saturday, Journal Times writer Gery Woelfel reported that Bogut might return for the Bucks’ game tonight against the Phoenix Suns but that he’s more likely to play on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. That would give Gooden one last chance to make his case for playing time going forward.
After totaling just 23 minutes and two points in his last two games, Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) came out shooting against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Rush buried four three-pointers en route to 14 points (5 of 7 shooting) and four rebounds in 28 minutes (full stats here). Twelve of those 28 minutes came in the fourth quarter, when Rush replaced slumping starter Dorell Wright.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) played 30 minutes on Saturday as the Thunder beat the Houston Rockets, 98-95. Collison was, as usual, on the floor mainly for his defense. He scored just four points with six rebounds and two assists (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play again (coach’s decision) on Saturday. The Thunder play the third game of a back-to-back-to-back tonight, but unless Oklahoma City gets (1) into foul trouble, (2) out to an huge lead or (3) ridiculously tired, Aldrich might be stuck on the bench again.
- Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets/Rio Grande Valley Vipers) played his second game for the Rockets’ D-League affiliate on Saturday and put up some big numbers again. Marcus scored 32 points (12 of 20 shooting) with 12 rebounds.
After Friday’s game (33 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists), Marcus talked to The Monitor’s David Hinojosa about the D-League assignment:
“Being able to play and being able to interact with new teammates,” Morris said of the benefits of his Vipers’ assignment. “Just to get a chance to get out there and play and compete. I haven’t really been out there since college.”
According to the article, RGV coach Nick Nurse (great name) expects the Rockets to leave Marcus with the Vipers through next week’s D-League Showcase in Vegas. Nurse said the Rockets might then consider recalling the rookie.
On Saturday, Houston Chronicle Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen tweeted that it could be a short stay for Marcus if he keeps playing at such a high level.
The next week might determine a lot for Marcus. The Rockets started rookie small forward Chandler Parsons on Saturday in a three-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Parsons scored just two points in 30 minutes, but added a little bit of everything else (full stats here). Former starter Chase Budinger added just six points in 18 minutes. This is just speculation, but if Marcus fills it up at the D-League Showcase (“a visible, highly scouted event,” per the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog), and the Rockets don’t get more offensive production from their small forward position, then a return to the NBA could be on the horizon.
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored 14 points with three rebounds and a blocked shot in 29 minutes on Saturday. Morningstar made seven of 12 shots and missed his only three-point attempt (full stats here). He’ll play again at 4 p.m. today.
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor - Turkey) scored 11 points with three assists, a rebound and a steal in 25 minutes on Saturday (full stats here). Trabzonspor lost 85-57 and made only 17 shots, but Robinson accounted for six of those makes. His next game will be on Jan. 14.
The Salt Lake Tribune wrote up a fun feature on former Utah Jazz player (and current Texas Legends center) Greg Ostertag. There’s not much new info in the profile, but it’s an entertaining read on the “5-foot-26” Ostertag.
The Legends play today at 3 p.m. As always, you can watch any D-League game for free on the D-League’s official website.
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic put together a short Q&A with Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns). A few of the answers are taken from recent postgame interview videos I’ve already posted, but Markieff answers other questions about his brother, his first paycheck and his favorite place to spend free time (hint: it hasn’t changed much since his days at KU). Give it a read here.
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
6 p.m., NBATV, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns
8:30 p.m., Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Los Angeles Lakers