Mario Chalmers and the Unsung Heroes of the 2012 NBA Finals
James, Wade, Westbrook and Durant have put up performances that deserve the spotlight, but Miami (and OKC) have other contributors who have helped during the stretches where the stars dimmed.
Here are four players who have done just that.
Chalmers' performance in Game 4 was nothing short of sensational.
A 25-point performance and some clutch baskets in LeBron's absence in the second half were reminiscent of his days in Kansas.
Remember that three-pointer that he made with 2.1 seconds left to send the 2008 NCAA championship game to overtime? Chalmers is not afraid of the moment.
He has proven he belongs with LeBron & Co. and may be to James what Derek Fisher was to Kobe Bryant in the early '00s.
His 11 PPG, 2 SPG, 3 APG and 3 RPG in the finals have provided Miami with a much-needed boost. Expect him to continue to contribute for the rest of the series.
Shane Battier is a savvy veteran still in search of his first NBA championship.
Like Chalmers, he was a standout in college (both academically and athletically). Battier was an instrumental part in Duke's 2001 NCAA championship.
Now, as a member of the Miami Heat, he has shown his intelligence and overall ability to perform when the spotlight is on.
Battier's greatest value may be on the defensive end of the floor, but his offensive game has helped put Miami over the top. In these NBA Finals he is shooting 12 of 19 from beyond the arc.
Scott Brooks has the luxury that is Nick Collison when Durant, Ibaka or Perkins get in early foul trouble.
He has only scored 19 points in the finals but those buckets help temporarily divert attention from the real threats of Durant and Westbrook.
His impact on the series may not be readily quantifiable, but he has helped keep some hope alive in OKC.
You can see his effort on the court heavily impacts his teammates, including the Thunder superstars. He gives as much effort as you could possibly ask and is nothing but a positive influence for the Thunder on the court.
Chris Bosh is the least-spoken member of Miami's Big Three.
Although he is still a household name, Bosh has not gotten the recognition he deserves. After the Heat were nearly knocked out of the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers, it was much more apparent how crucial Bosh is to Miami's success.
Not only that, but he has willingly taken on a role that he didn't really want, agreeing to move out of his comfort zone and play center (per SunSentinel).
In that role, he has done a spectacular job. Miami has virtually nobody else to man the middle unless you count Udonis Haslem (or Joel Anthony and his two minutes on the floor in the finals). Lately, Bosh has had to battle some of the league's best big men in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.
Thus far, he is winning the battle.