Notes from San Antonio on various topics on a Sunday afternoon, as we await Game 5 of the Finals in a few hours:
SAN ANTONIO --- Mario Chalmers entered Game 5 of The Finals on Sunday calling the past few weeks the most difficult of his career and unsure what the future will hold.
An impending free agent, Chalmers prefers to return next season. That’s certainly not out of the question, but it would be surprising if the Heat doesn’t 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 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, you’ve got to perform. I’ve 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.
“I’ve watched a couple of games – last year’s Finals, games earlier this year, playoff games over my six years,” he said. “It shows that you can do it. I’ve been in this situation before and I know what I can do at this level. Just got to keep believing in myself.”
### Chris Bosh had this to say this morning, via ESPN's Mike Wallace: "It's not ending tonight." And of the Big Three, he said: "We'll be here forever."
### While nobody with the Heat has publicly criticized Erik Spoelstra's strategy, it was notable that Bosh said early Friday morning: "We're going to need a better gameplan and mindset."
### Shane Battier, at peace with his decision to retire, said Saturday he does not expect to become emotional when he walked off the court for the final time.
“I wasn’t emotional when I graduated from Duke or high school,” said Battier, who will become a college basketball analyst for ESPN. “I’ve enjoyed my career but there are other things I feel more strongly about.”
### The fact 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. I'm all about chemistry and habits, and it affected our team. There were guys that didn't know if they were playing, did know they were playing, and it affected our team a little bit."
### Despite having absolutely no inside information, that didn’t stop Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons from telling ESPN this weekend that he expects LeBron James will leave the Heat.
"I think if they would've won the championship it would've been a different story and they would've came back to do it again," Parsons said. "But he's got so much responsibility. I think them losing will make him make a move and opt out, and you'll see him in a different jersey next year. He's done all he can do there and it's 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. I’ve heard from [Pacers and former Spurs guard] George Hill. He thinks we’re 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.
### One interesting point raised by Charles Barkley: "The biggest problem with the Heat is the way their offense is built. To stand Chris Bosh out [on the perimeter] is a detriment to him. He’s got to be able to
punish Boris Diaw down low. When the Spurs switch the pick-and-roll, Bosh is turned one-dimensional. Every time Oklahoma City switched the pick and roll, the Spurs got the ball to Tim Duncan and he was either fouled or got a layup. Duncan is not going to let a point guard guard him. Chris Bosh does not do that."
### In last year’s Finals, the Heat was outscored by 57 when James and Wade played together. In these Finals, they’re minus 21 together…. The Heat’s best lineup in these Finals? The Big Three, Ray Allen and
Chalmers (plus 14, shooting 59 percent).
### Not only do Dolphins players say their new offense reminds them of Chip Kelly’s offense with the Eagles --- where new coordinator Bill Lazor worked last season --- but Lazor has been using video of the
Eagles offense as a teaching tool, according to receiver Rishard Matthews. There are some differences between the offenses.
"Last year, it was one-dimensional a little bit,” Matthews said of Mike Sherman’s approach. “This year, everybody loves the offense.”
### Quarterback Jake Heaps --- the highest-rated quarterback in the 2010 class --- is transferring from Kansas (where he's graduating this month) to Miami.
Heaps, who is be eligible immediately as a senior, has had a disappointing career. He played well for BYU as a freshman but left the next year after losing his starting job. He played for Kansas last season, throwing eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions and completing 49 percent of his passes for a 3-9 team.
Internally, UM is concerned about its quarterback situation. But Heaps, based on his spotty track record, hardly seems the answer. Ryan Williams hopes to return from a knee injury by mid-to-late September. Kevin Olsen remains the front-runner to start the opener, with newcomers Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier also expecting to get some first-team reps early in camp, barring a change of heart by the coaching staff.
### One factor that has improved the Marlins’ internal clubhouse dynamics: The jettisoning of several me-first players who rubbed some teammates the wrong way.
“There’s a different atmosphere where you have everyone trying to help each other – that’s something we hadn’t seen before,” reliever Mike Dunn said. “In past years, we had guys pulling for themselves
over the team.”
Dunn didn’t disclose names, but another team source said that list included Hanley Ramirez, Justin Ruggiano and Jose Reyes, among others.