MEMPHIS -- Mario Chalmers didn’t want to talk about it.
The Heat plays the Houston Rockets on Monday at Toyota Center but Chalmers wanted no part of speaking about his matchup with Rockets guard Jeremy Lin.
“I just want to play the best I can in every game I play in,” said Chalmers when reminded of his dominance of Lin last season after Lin skyrocketed to stardom with the Knicks.
Lin is averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists for the Rockets through their first six games. He had seven points and eight assists in Saturday’s victory over the Pistons. On Friday against the Grizzlies, Lin had three assists and four turnovers.
Lin, of course, is only half of the Rockets’ revamped lineup that makes Monday’s game one of the most anticipated for the Heat in the first half of the season.
The James Harden trade reshaped the Western Conference just before the beginning of the season and the Heat’s players have been looking forward to their trip to Houston ever since.
At the time of the trade, Dwyane Wade said he was “shocked” when Oklahoma City sent Harden to Houston. Harden is currently third in the league in scoring with 26.5 points per game.
“All eyes are focused on you night after night, it’s different when you come off the bench and you have a big night and everyone talks about it and if you don’t there’s not much written about it,” Wade said when Harden was traded to Houston. “It’s what he wanted in a sense. That’s what he wanted when he didn’t take the extension.
“He wanted his worth and he wanted to be featured. He’s going to get featured. He’s a pretty good player. He can live up to the billing but the grind is tough. Every night to step up to what everyone believes that you should do because of the dollar [amount] you ask for. He’s still young, he’s still coming into his own. He can do some things [in Houston], we’ll see.”
Stars and stripes
Most of the Heat’s players wore red, white and blue shoes on Sunday in honor of Veteran’s Day. Players around the league have worn colorful Veteran’s Day-themed headbands in games throughout the weekend.
“I think sometimes we all take for granted what we’re able to do day by bay because there are people out there protecting our freedoms and liberties,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “It’s just important to recognize not only the people who do it now but who have done it since the inception of this country.”
The Heat honors a different member of the military before every home game with its “Home Strong” initiative. According to the team’s website, “the program is currently working and planning to further assist with the unmet needs of military personnel and their families who have returned back from Iraq and Afghanistan and reside in the South Florida area.”
Bosh has been an active supporter of the United States military as well. His charity foundation recently teamed with America’s Moms for Soldiers to make holiday care packages for troops stationed abroad. Bosh filled stockings with essentials plus candy, gum and chips.
“Hopefully we put some smiles on some dudes faces,” Bosh said.
More than half of the Heat’s players bused down to the Great Electric Oasis of the South known as Tunica, Miss., on Saturday night to attend a charity event hosted by Mike Miller at the Horseshoe Casino.
The Mike Miller Foundation raised over $50,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital — auctioning off sports memorabilia, jewelry and ticket packages for courtside seats to Heat games. Bosh, Ray Allen, Terrel Harris, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem, James Jones and Shane Battier enjoyed an evening at the casino.