Miami Heat 'Fast 5': Chris Bosh's Quiet Intensity, Help for Mario Chalmers, More

Ethan Skolnick@@EthanJSkolnickNBA Senior WriterJune 10, 2014

Five quick-hitting Miami Heat items as the NBA Finals return to South Florida tied at one game each:

1. Chris Bosh has such balance in his life, with so many interests outside of basketball, that it may be surprising to see him get so worked up about anything that happens on the court. 

It shouldn't be. 

Bosh's competitive streak is well understood not only by his teammates but by his family.

Take this story that he told Bleacher Report earlier this season, about a leisurely day at the lanes.

"I don't really let my kids win at anything," Bosh said. "OK, so we were bowling. I wanted to bowl, but they just totally took over every lane, every game. So they were just rolling every ball. I was like, dang, 'Daddy wants to bowl, I couldn’t bowl.' "

Finally, he did.

And he let his oldest daughter, Trinity, beat him. 

"She was, like, 'Ha, ha, ha,' she started laughing at me," Bosh said. "I was, like, 'Oh, you better be careful; Daddy’s a sore loser.' She [said], 'Well, I’m a sore winner.' I was, like, 'OK, cool, you'll never win another game again.' "

He did not roar the way he did Sunday as he continued his fine play of late—averaging 21.2 points in his past five playoff games.

At least, if he did, he didn't mention it.


2. LeBron James cramped severely in Game 1, because the AT&T Center's air conditioner gave out.

Embarrassment for the NBA?


And yet, it was a minor inconvenience compared to what could have occurred one year earlier.

Months later, NBA staffers were still having what they described as "night sweats" about the ending of regulation in Game 6 in Miami, and not because of Ray Allen's game-tying shot with 5.2 seconds left in regulation.

Rather, because of what happened after.

Gregg Popovich had taken Tim Duncan out of the game with 19.4 seconds left, replacing him with Boris Diaw. That backfired when Bosh rebounded James' missed three-pointer, and Bosh found Allen for the dagger in the right corner.

The officials stopped the game to review Allen's feet, making sure he was behind the line.

And while they were doing so, Popovich did something that isn't allowed during such a stoppage:

He snuck Duncan back in.

It didn't affect the outcome, since Tony Parker missed a fadeaway jumper just before the buzzer, and the Heat pulled away in overtime.

The next day, after practice in preparation for Game 7, I asked Popovich if he had been under the impression that he was allowed to sub in Duncan.

His answer didn't really address it.

"No, I was upset because I wanted to take it out and go," Pop said. "There were .5 whatever seconds left on the clock. He just made it. That's one of the great times when you can push the basketball against another team. They don't want to foul. The game is tied. Oftentimes you'll see somebody go right to the hole. Get a foul or get a layup. And that was taken away with the review. I was told afterwards somebody threw something on the floor there also and they had to stop it for that. I don't know if that's true or not. But we wanted to take it and go. And that's why I was upset."

The Heat would have been quite upset had they lost the championship with San Antonio using a player who wasn't allowed to be on the floor. Upset enough to file a protest? Team officials told Bleacher Report this week that they couldn't say for sure, since it became purely "theoretical" after their players forced Game 7.

But what if the Spurs had won, and the Heat had filed the protest and the league had overturned the ending?

That could have meant calling the fans and players back two nights later, after the Spurs had already hoisted the trophy on the Heat's floor (and spent at least one night celebrating), and requiring them to replay the final 5.2 seconds, starting with the Heat taking a technical foul shot. And that could have meant either the Spurs celebrating again, or Game 7 starting after a brief break.

Compared to that chaos, the air conditioning controversy seemed like a breeze.


3. Mario Chalmers had five points, four assists and one flagrant elbow during his 31 minutes of playing time in Miami's Game 2 win.

That actually represented modest progress compared to his pronounced struggle in the NBA Finals opener. 

If he continues to improve, one assist should be awarded to the coach he trusts the most, Ronnie Chalmers.

Mario's father, a military man, was his high school coach at Bartlett High in Anchorage, Alaska. He would show his players one thing they did wrong and several they did right so that they would come away with a positive attitude.

His support of his son, however, has never come with too much sugar-coating.

"My first thing to him, is let the game come to him," Ronnie said. "Mario plays so hard and wants to do so well, and he has a tendency to, always in that first game of the series, [be] so anxious, he speeds his mind up. He has a tendency to overreact on plays. I try to get him to settle down and let the game come to you."

That's why Ronnie told his son to back off a little defensively in Game 2, at least until he got a sense of how the officials were calling the game. Better to have fouls to use later than to burn them early.

"Pick and choose your battles," Ronnie told him, while calling his son's first foul of Tim Duncan on Thursday "a silly foul."

On offense, Ronnie has encouraged Mario to be more aggressive, even while fitting as the fourth option in the Heat's starting lineup, and even as "other teams are beginning to notice Mario. They're not leaving him open the way they did the past two years." But he advised Chalmers to make himself more available on offense, by finding angles and open spots off the ball the way that Ray Allen does.

And then?

"I'd rather see you shoot and miss it, then commit a turnover," Ronnie said he told Mario. "And I know Coach Spoelstra would, too."

He said his son has always been thick-skinned.

"Even when he was younger, I always played him two years up," Ronnie said. "When he was six, he was playing with eight-year-olds. There was always pressure on. He’s like a duck, lets [things] roll off his back, [and] keeps paddling up on the water like hell."

Chalmers also has shown a willingness to evaluate his game by analyzing video, not just of the last game, but of older ones when he's played the way he wants to.

And by taking to heart fatherly advice like this: "Play from your heart for yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect."


4. Ray Allen likes to say, when asked about this time of year, that he is "built for this." 

At 38 years old, and more than nine months after training camp started, he's played 65 minutes in the first two games of the NBA Finals, his two highest minute totals of the playoffs. He also got way above the rim in Game 1, when the oppressive heat was bringing most players down. 

But he also believes that the legacy he's leaving goes beyond what he does on the court. That applies to his influence on his teammates, even on veterans like Dwyane Wade, whom he has known since Wade's Marquette days. 

"The one thing that I can see that he's really working at is his diet," Allen said. "I think we've all had those battles, and not just all of us athletes, I think every person. Here it's so much more important, because you want the best out of your body. Your mind doesn't change, but your body does. You say, 'Hey, I can jump over that and get that rebound,' but your body sometimes doesn't work for you the way you want it to as you get older. I think he's at that stage now where he's having those wars with himself about how he eats, which we all have had. He's trying to find every advantage you can, to take care of his body."

But that's a "fight" that includes "concessions," such as going to sleep earlier, choosing the turkey burger over the cheeseburger and adding more green to the diet. 

"He's got great examples around him," Allen said. "He and I, we sit next to each other on the plane, and we talk about food a lot, and why I do some of the things I do. James Jones, he is just as staunch about his diet. On the plane, when they ask me what to eat, I'll say, 'Give me the turkey burger with no bread.' When guys see that, they say, 'I can do that, too.' Some guys don't want to be around 18 years, but 'let me give myself a chance at least.' " 

For Wade, that has meant eating fish for the first time in his life earlier this season, and even eating it a few times since. And that's meant continuing to probe his teammate for longevity advice. 

"I do pick Ray's brain a lot," Wade said. "It's weird to me, still, because when I was in college, Ray was with the Bucks and we had a relationship then. So I have this comfort with Ray. I just ask him random questions all the time. I just like to see what his mindset is, and how he does it. Because if you look at him, he's built to last."

Allen couldn't have said it better himself. 


5. Rashard Lewis played it down the middle.

As the part-owner of several horses over the past few years—including Join in the Dance, which finished seventh in the 2009 Kentucky DerbyLewis was uniquely qualified among members of the Heat locker room to discuss the disappointment of California Chrome in Saturday's Belmont, as well as owner Steve Coburn's post-race rant.

Coburn called some of the other entrants "cowards" for saving their horses for the final leg of the Triple Crown, rather than racing them in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

"You know, in a way he's right," Lewis said. "It's very tough to win the Triple Crown, because fresh horses can come along and beat you after they may not run in the Derby or the Preakness. But, then again, I'm kind of 50-50 with it. It's three individual meets. So maybe it's good to have it that way, because you've got to have a superstar horse to win the Triple Crown. If all horses ran in those three races, you might have a different Triple Crown winner every year, so that's what makes it special. It's probably good to just have a special horse."

Lewis and his former AAU teammate (and business manager) Jake Ballis are still looking for that special horse, though they have had some success with Cigar Street, who won the 2013 Skip Away Stakes on the Florida Derby undercard, and with White Rose. He plans to increase his equine involvement after his playing days are done.

"Everybody's dream is to win the Kentucky Derby," Lewis said. "Before you can even think about the Triple Crown."

But Lewis actually has something in common with this year's Belmont winner, Tonalist.

He now looks like one of the Heat's freshest horses, saved for the team's closing run. The veteran forward has scored 55 in the past four games, all starts. That's the same number of points he produced in all of January, and just nine fewer than his highest-scoring month (December) of the regular season.

Gregg Popovich hasn't ranted about the unfairness of it all.



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