Without a doubt LeBron James was the best player in the 2012 NBA Finals and deserved to be the MVP. But LeBron also got a lot of help from his teammates.
The Miami Heat are NBA champs thanks to some timely clutch plays from Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, and Mike Miller. Battier’s five 3-pointers and 17 points was huge in the Heat’s Game 2 win in Oklahoma City. Chalmers stepped up in Game 4, scoring 25 points, and was absolutely fearless down the stretch. In the series-clinching win in Game 5, Miller came off the bench — despite a bad back — and lit up American Airlines Arena with 23 points on a mind-boggling 7-for-8 on 3-pointers.
With their spectacular performances Battier, Miller, and Chalmers etched their names in NBA Finals history, joining super role players such as Michael Cooper, Scott Wedman, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Robert Horry, and Derek Fisher. Without them Magic Johnson wouldn’t have had five titles, Larry Bird wouldn’t have had three titles, Michael Jordan woudn’t have had six titles, and Kobe Bryant wouldn’t have had five titles.
“The last couple of games he’s had open clean looks,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about Chalmers. “We told him he’ll get those opportunities again and step up with confidence.
“That kid is not afraid of any moment. We all know that. He’s a gutsy kid. He’s a gamer. He’s got guts. You can’t quantify that, you can’t measure it, you can’t necessarily evaluate that. You can’t teach that.”
This is Chalmers’ fourth season with the Heat and has played alongside Miami’s Big Three the past two years. He has been Dwyane Wade’s starting backcourt teammate for two seasons and has never shied away from big moments. In fact, ever since winning an NCAA championship at Kansas in 2008, Chalmers embraces pressure and considers himself a modern-day “Mr. Clutch.”
It’s tattooed on his arm.
“He has that thing called heart. Mario thinks he’s the best player on this team. It’s a gift and a curse,” Wade said. “He never gets down on himself. He always believes ‘I can make a shot, I can make a play.’ ”
Wade added, “You gotta be born with it, that clutch gene. He has it.”