Heat notebook

Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers continues to play at high level

 

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Overshadowed during the Heat’s recent run of brilliance has been the steady play of point guard Mario Chalmers.

The fifth-year guard entered Tuesday’s game against the Kings shooting 57.6 percent (19 of 33) in his past four games. From three-point range, he was shooting 50 percent (8 of 16) over that stretch. Chalmers had six points and four assists in 32 minutes in the Heat’s 141-129 double-overtime victory against Sacramento.

“I wish I necessarily had an answer for it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

For Spoelstra, it has always been a challenge to explain Chalmers’ streaky play but, for once, the coach was quick to praise his starting point guard for prolonged and consistent success. He even defended Chalmers against the normal criticisms of his enigmatic game, saying he has been “encouraged” with Chalmers over the past six weeks.

“And the reason I say six weeks is because people only notice if the ball is going in or not, but there are a lot of other things he is responsible for, and he has been the head of our defense, pick-and-roll defense and setting the tone,” Spoelstra said. “And then offensively, he has been doing a much better job of getting us organized.

“He’s been playing the way we want him to play.”

One possible explanation for Chalmers’ play since the All-Star Game might be his visit to Lawrence, Kan., over the break. KU honored Chalmers by retiring his jersey during halftime of a home game.

GREAT DEBATE

People have argued for years about which sport, football or basketball, requires the better athletes. The games require different skills. For Heat guard Norris Cole, it’s not a question. Football wins.

“Our sport doesn’t stop,” Cole said. “The average play in football is three to five seconds with rest in between, but as far as pure athleticism, running, jumping, lifting — they’re average vertical jumps are higher than basketball players.”

Cole watched intently a replay of the NFL Combine before Tuesday’s game. He was so interested in the agility drills and 40-yard dashes that he kept asking reporters blocking his view of the TV to “please move.”

Cole was a quarterback in high school but never was timed officially in the 40-yard dash. As one of the NBA’s fastest players, he estimated that he could run the distance in 4.4 or 4.5 seconds. Cole was one of 52 players invited to the 2010 NBA combine. He had the best time in the four-corner drill, which measures speed and quickness.

Along with himself, Cole said the fastest players in the NBA are John Wall and Derrick Rose, among others. Cole said players consider Rose to be the fastest player in the league with the ball in his hands.

But could Rose make an easy transition to football? Cole thinks it would be easier for a cornerback or safety in the NFL to cross over to basketball.

“Football is hard, man,” Cole said. “All that constant crashing into one another. There are some basketball players who are just born to score and never have to lift a weight in their life.”

Of course, LeBron James playing football is the topic for another debate entirely. “He doesn’t count,” Cole said.

TECH SAVVY

Among basketball players, Chris Bosh has long been one of the surprising kings of cameo appearances in the entertainment world. He’s always popping up in odd places, but his latest on-camera appearance might be the most surprising.

Bosh recently appeared in a short film about the importance of American schools incorporating computer coding into their curriculums. Also in the film were tech heavyweights Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Watch the video on The Miami Herald’s Heat blog, Heat Check, at MiamiHerald.com.

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