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Mario Chalmers can shoot the ball.
Drafted in 2008 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, then sent to the Heat where he has now played all of his three seasons in the league, Chalmers in all truth was never expected to fill the No. 1 point guard position for any length of time.
Things change, however, and with the Heat spending almost all its free cap space on re-signing Wade and acquiring James, Bosh and Miller, Chalmers found himself sharing the entirety of the Heat's point guard duties with Carlos Arroyo and now Mike Bibby.
All things considered, Chalmers has clearly outplayed both. It took Erik Spoelstra a while, but he finally saw the light and withdrew Zydrunas Ilgauskas from the starting lineup midway through the playoffs—replacing him with Joel Anthony—probably after someone pointed out Big Z had the worst +/- of any player in the postseason, while Anthony had the best.
That was a smart move by Spoelstra, as the Heat have been getting off to much better starts, but it is a mystery to many observers why he hasn't done the same thing at the point guard spot and replaced the struggling Bibby with Chalmers, who is a much better defender, is currently shooting far better and is clearly the superior athlete.
Nevertheless, Chalmers has come on strong when it counts at the tail-end of the post-season.
After starting all 82 games of his rookie season, Chalmers has since ceded those duties to Carlos Arroyo and now Mike Bibby.
Starting 22 games in 2009-10 and 28 games this past season, he has seen his scoring drop from 10 to 7.1 points per game, and now 6.4 for the 10-11 regular season. Likewise, his minutes per game have dropped from 32.0 in his rookie season to 22.6.
Nevertheless, in key games throughout these playoffs Chalmers has come up with the goods. He hit 6-12 three-pointers in Game 5 against Philadelphia to help close out the series. In Game 3 against the Celtics he put up 17 points, which helped stop an embarrassing loss from becoming a circus. He hit two key three-pointers in Game 4 against the Bulls, to go along with a game-high four steals.
It has been in the NBA Finals series, however, when Chalmers has truly stepped up, developing into a legitimate scoring threat that the Mavericks will have to respect every time they think about double-teaming one of the Big Three.
In Game 1 he hit 3-7 three-pointers to help the Heat go one up on Dallas, but apparently wasn't happy with that. In Game 3 he shot 4-6 from downtown to help the Heat avenge their Game 2 meltdown and go up 2-1 in a close-fought victory on Mavericks home turf.