Heat Point Guards

Miami Heat’s Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole make their impact felt

 

Though they both experienced a turbulent postseason, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole made their presence felt with pestering defense, timely offense and even some cheerleading.

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

The inconsistencies of Miami’s offensive production from its point guards during the NBA Finals are easy to spot just by looking through the box scores.

On one night, Mario Chalmers is leading the Heat in scoring, the next he is held scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting.

Chalmers, who just finished his fifth season with the Heat, had a big game for the Heat in Game 6 — only to hit 1 of 7 three-point attempts in Game 7.

“During Miami’s best moments, Chalmers has always played a critical role,” ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy said. “I really like his competitive spirit and he has good offensive skill. He just needs more consistency.”

Chalmers played strong defense throughout the Finals, however, and went after Tony Parker. But Chalmers ended up having an uneven Finals offensively, as he had four games with fewer than 10 points and three in which he scored 14 or more.

After having a huge Game 1, Parker was, for the most part, held in check.

“My job was to make him uncomfortable, make him struggle as much as I could,” Chalmers said Monday.

Cole’s situation in the Finals changed from being counted on in big situations to being lost at the end of the bench.

Instead of being coach Erik Spoelstra’s defensive option at the point during the end of games, Cole saw his minutes disappear as Miami used other options — including LeBron James — in defending Parker.

Cole, who played a personal-high 26 minutes 45seconds in Game 3 of the Finals, watched his court time shrink to 6:35 in Game 5. Cole didn’t come off the bench in either of Miami’s two season-ending victories.

Last year, Cole found playing time sparse as the playoffs began — only to see his role increase moving forward. After not playing in Game 1 against Oklahoma City, Cole played 16:40 in Miami’s title-clinching win in Game5.

During Monday’s celebration, video was shown of Cole celebrating Ray Allen’s game-tying three-pointer to force overtime in Game 6. That shot saved Miami’s season — and showed that Cole wasn’t pouting by not being in the game.

“We work together as a team, we’re in it as a team,” Cole said. “When I’m not on the court, I’m still out there, cheering them on. I think I may have the highest vertical on the team after watching that video.”

With the Heat holding their rights, both Chalmers and Cole should return to the Heat next season.

Cole is a first-round pick in 2011 who holds a perfect rings-to-years-played ratio. He is signed through next season ,with Miami holding his contract for the following two seasons after that.

“My teammates just got done telling me that I’m pretty spoiled,” Cole said. “But I feel blessed to be here on a team like this. I don’t take it for granted.”

Miami holds a team option on Chalmers — one that will be exercised — for $4million in 2013-14.

Van Gundy thinks Chalmers’ role with the Heat is only going to expand as the team ages.

“I absolutely love what he brings to them,” Van Gundy said. “His on-ball defense is maybe a little more inconsistent than it should be, but if he continues to evolve, he will play an even more significant role as Miami goes for three.”

Said Chalmers: “My teammates believe in me. That makes it easier for me to believe in myself. I try to come up big in the big moments.”

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