In a way, we humans are wired to have a selective memory. At its most basic, it’s a survival instinct—there’s only so much storage room up in the ol' brain cave, after all.
Speaking to reporters following Miami’s 98-96 Game 2 win Sunday night, Chalmers pleaded the fifth when asked about elbowing Tony Parker on a drive to the bucket midway through the fourth quarter. From Eye On Basketball’s Matt Moore:
"I don't know (what happened)," Chalmers said. "They say I hit him with an elbow, but I don't remember throwing an elbow, I was just trying to get to the rim."
To the replay booth!
Now, if I didn’t know any better, it looks like Chalmers sort of wound up with his arm before rocketing it straight into Parker’s sternum. If you look real close, you can see Chalmers grimace a bit as he cocks his arm, as if to say, “You, sir, have annoyed me to the point of violent anger, which I will now demonstrate by turning your ribcage inside out.”
Chalmers was initially assessed a flagrant, a call the referees confirmed upon review. Probably because it was a flagrant foul.
Now, it could well be that Chalmers is playing dumb in an effort to avoid a fine ex post facto. That’s Latin for “after the fact.” I think. You should probably Google it.
This isn’t the first time a forearm shiver has landed Chalmers on the Commissioner's docket, however. Back in November 2013, this incident involving Dirk Nowitzki got Chalmers suspended for one game without pay:
After that little scrap, Chalmers had this to say:
Never in my career been a dirty player. It's clear that my arm was being held and that's wat caused me to hit dirk. Enough is enough man— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) November 16, 2013
"Never in my career have I been a dirty player. Unless I'm being a dirty player."
Unfortunately, Chalmers’ latest extracurricular exploit remains the most memorable thing he’s done all series: He’s averaging just four points and 2.5 assists in 24 minutes over two games. The last time he notched 10 points or more? You have to go all the way back to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Bleacher Report’s own Ethan Skolnick underscored the importance of Miami’s starting point guard in a piece penned following Miami’s 110-95 Game 1 loss:
The point guard is known for his outsized, unshakable confidence, which has often been of great benefit to the team during its title runs, but which has shown temporary cracks at times during his six seasons in the NBA. He's always recovered eventually, and he's made critical shots in the Heat's last three postseason pushes.
But his teammates, who deem him to be more important to Miami's success than most observers typically do, have expressed real worries this time: that he isn't compartmentalizing well enough, and that he is allowing off-the-court concerns, including his contract status (as a free agent after the season), to affect his play.
It stands to reason the Heat will need at least one memorable outing from Chalmers—along the lines of his 20-point performance in Game 6 of last year’s Finals—as the series progresses.
Otherwise, we could look back at his Game 2 transgression as the spark that sent Tony Parker to another level of rage-induced excellence. And the Heat want nothing of that.