SAN ANTONIO -- Mario Chalmers lost his starting spot for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the latest blow during a stretch that he calls the most difficult of his career.
Ray Allen replaced Chalmers in the starting lineup. Chalmers had started every game that he had appeared in for the Heat since Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals, when he replaced Mike Bibby in the lineup.
An impending free agent, Chalmers prefers to return next season. Thats certainly not out of the question, but it would be surprising if the Heat doesnt explore trying to upgrade at the position.
Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, veteran NBA guard Brandon Rush and former NBA guard Damon Jones all reached out to Chalmers in recent days, offering both encouragement but also a pointed message: Stop playing passively.
Chalmers said he agrees that he has been playing passively but he said he also is cognizant of getting the ball to teammates.
He entered Game 5 having shot 5 for 18 in the Finals, with 14 assists and 10 turnovers.
The past few weeks have been very tough, but it comes with the job, he said. My teammates have all been supportive. At times like this, youve got to perform. Ive dealt with adversity before.
Over the past few days, Chalmers has watched tape of some of his best moments as an NBA player, a reminder of what he is capable of.
Ive watched a couple of games last years Finals, games earlier this year, playoff games over my six years, he said. It shows that you can do it. Ive been in this situation before and I know what I can do at this level. Just got to keep believing in myself.
This and that
• Shane Battier, at peace with his decision to retire, said Saturday he did not expect to become emotional when he walked off the court for the final time. I wasnt emotional when I graduated from Duke or high school, said Battier, who will become a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Ive enjoyed my career but there are other things I feel more strongly about.
• The fact Dwyane Wade missed so many regular season games (28) including some on short notice frustrated LeBron James at times, who said Saturday (without mentioning Wade) that in the regular season I got frustrated a lot because we have guys in and out of the lineup. Im all about chemistry and habits, and it affected our team.
There were guys that didnt know if they were playing and it affected our team a little bit.
• Despite having absolutely no inside information, that didnt stop Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons from telling ESPN this weekend that he expects James will leave the Heat.
I think if they wouldve won the championship it wouldve been a different story and they wouldve came back to do it again, Parsons said. But hes got so much responsibility. I think them losing will make him make a move and opt out, and youll see him in a different jersey next year. Hes done all he can do there and its time for him to move on. I could see him maybe going back to Cleveland.
• Spurs players say one compliment they hear a lot is how aesthetically-pleasing their style of play is. You hear it all over the place, guard Danny Green said. Everyone is talking about well we move the ball. Ive heard from [Pacers and former Spurs guard] George Hill. He thinks were playing pretty well.
• James entered Game 5 as one of only two players who has averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds when facing playoff elimination. Wilt Chamberlain was the other.