It's just getting hard to remember what those felt like.
After scoring just two points on 0-of-5 shooting in the Miami Heat's 111-92 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Chalmers was at a loss.
Chalmers pauses when asked where he is. "Still at the drawing board."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 11, 2014
In 22 minutes, the 28-year-old guard couldn't seem to do anything right. He gave the ball away three times, committed four fouls, missed open shots and never managed to put himself in the right place at the right time.
Unfortunately, his ugly night was the continuation of a disturbing postseason trend.
Chalmers is averaging just 3.3 points per game on 25 percent shooting in these Finals, and he hasn't cracked double figures since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Brooklyn Nets.
That was over a month ago.
Now, to be clear, the Heat don't expect Chalmers to lead them in scoring or control the offense for whole quarters at a time. But they do need him to contribute something positive in his limited role. In fact, the relatively minimal demands Miami places on him make his inability to perform even more perplexing.
Just make open shots, Mario. It's not that hard.
This isn't new territory for Chalmers, who's long been the teammate on whom LeBron James and Dwyane Wade take out their frustrations. Watch any Heat game closely and you're likely to see one of Miami's stars shooting frustrated glances toward Chalmers.
And LeBron thought he was the easiest target in sports. He's not even the easiest target in his own locker room. #Chalmers— Sekou Smith (@SekouSmithNBA) June 11, 2014
And things get pretty confrontational sometimes, as the notoriously confident Chalmers often snaps back.
Still, Miami's leadership has managed to keep things cordial most of the time.
But from the sound of it, Chalmers is starting to feel sorry for himself, which is definitely a bad sign with so much on the line and the Heat now behind in the series.
Chalmers: "I think everybody else is doing their job and I'm being that guy that's not helping out. I don't want to be that guy."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 11, 2014
And with the Spurs looking stronger than ever, the Heat know they can't afford to let Chalmers' confidence erode any further.
Wade: "Mario is a big piece of what we do. And we're missing that piece right now.... We're not going to leave him out on an island."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 11, 2014
The Heat will do their best to pick up their fallen teammate, but Chalmers' recovery will have to come from within.
It's clear that the Heat want to help Chalmers, and they know they need him, but one told me, "He needs to meet us halfway."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 11, 2014
If he can't get his game together, Miami may soon be forced to play even larger chunks of the Finals without a conventional point guard on the floor. That may sound like an appealing option, but Tony Parker and Patty Mills are too quick and mobile for any of Miami's bigger wings to cover for long stretches.
Norris Cole has had his moments but is shooting just 41.5 percent in the playoffs. And it's unclear whether Erik Spoelstra would even consider using Toney Douglas in anything but garbage time.
Chalmers' poor play and concerning mental state may not seem like a big deal, but he's still a guy the Heat would prefer to have in the rotation. He's hit big shots before, and he's still probably the best option to use against Parker (next to James, of course, whom the Heat don't want to wear out with a tough defensive assignment until they turn him loose in the fourth quarter).
Following an eye-opening loss in which the Spurs looked nearly unbeatable, the Heat are showing a few cracks. They don't need Chalmers to be another weak link—even if that's how they've treated him for years.