If it was truly the Heat’s final game in Sacramento, the defending champs gave the city’s NBA fans something to remember.
More than likely, Kings fans will not think back on it fondly in the immediate future.
In arguably its best game offensively this season, the Heat defeated the Kings 128-99 at Sleep Train Arena. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson watched courtside as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers put on a show.
It’s possible the Kings will be relocated next season. If so, Chalmers made a little bit of history at the soon-to-be defunct arena, setting an arena record for three-pointers. The Heat’s starting point guard scored 10 three-pointers, tying Brian Shaw for the Heat’s all-time record. Chalmers finished with 34 points, a career high, and was 12 of 16 from the field and 10 of 13 from three-point range.
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“All my shots were going in,” Chalmers said. “It’s nice to get things going and get back on our game. We had it going from every aspect.”
Chalmers missed a potential game-winner on Thursday in Portland. In Sacramento, the only question late in the game was whether or not he would have a chance at the three-point record.
Chalmers was sitting on eight three-pointers at the end of the third quarter. The Heat led 103-72 at the end of the period, making Chalmers return doubtful. Knowing he was close to the Heat’s franchise mark for three-pointers, Chalmers lobbied to reenter the game and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave him the chance at history with 5:51 remaining.
Chalmers made both of his attempts in the fourth quarter to tie Brian Shaw’s long-standing franchise record set on April 8, 1993 in Milwaukee. Sacramento’s previous arena record for three-pointers was nine held by a pair of former Heat players, Mike Bibby and Antoine Walker.
Bibby had nine three-pointers for the Kings on March 25, 2007, while playing against the Suns. Walker had his big game on Jan. 17, 2001, while playing for Boston.
Chalmers’ 10th three-pointer came with 3:12 left in the game. The Heat’s bench jumped up and down in celebration after the basket so boisterously that Spoelstra had to settle everyone down for fear of showing up the Kings.
“It was awesome,” James said of Chalmers’ record-tying game. “We our teammates. Anytime we have a guy that can go off like that it’s great. He had it going and we just tried to continue to find him and he kept on knocking them down.”
Chalmers started the game smoking hot. He had 13 points in the first quarter and went into halftime with 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 5 of 7 from three-point range. Chalmers had nine points on three three-pointers in the third quarter.
He never had a chance to break the record. Chalmers was substituted out of the game after tying the record with 2:52 to go.
“He got the record,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what we wanted him to get. There still is an integrity to this game.
“We’re up big against this team in their building. At that point, it’s not about trying to embarrass the other team and just go for records at the expense of the integrity of the game. He had gotten 10 from pretty much the flow of the game, even though the last three minutes you’re kind of hunting for a record, and it’s a little bit awkward. But at least he gotten it and everyone was happy for him.”
With his fifth three-pointer, Chalmers passed Dan Majerle (414) for fifth place on the Heat’s all-time three-point list.
The Heat’s largest lead was 38 points. James finished the game with 20 points and had seven assists and five rebounds. Wade had 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Chris Bosh finished with 16 points.
The Heat (24-11 and 8-7 on the road) had 35 assists, shot 56.3 percent from the field and was 17 of 37 from three-point range. Guard Isaiah Thomas led the Kings (13-24) with 34 points. He was 6 of 8 from three-point range.