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Archive for Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chalmers returns to Final Four … this time, in NBA

May 15, 2011

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— Mario Chalmers has been watching plenty of video, studying Derrick Rose’s game in an effort to get ready for the Eastern Conference finals.

Suffice to say, no clips from 2008 are in that homework reel.

No need to further break down the ones from that year, though — Chalmers has them permanently committed to memory.

Go figure. Chalmers is in a Final Four, the NBA version, for the first time. And his primary assignment when he’s on the floor for the Miami Heat in this East championship series will be trying to slow down Rose, the Chicago Bulls star, the NBA’s reigning MVP — and the player Chalmers made the shot of his life against in the 2008 NCAA title game.

Game 1 of the series is tonight in Chicago.

“It’s a lot of different now,” Chalmers said. “Two different hypes. He’s the star of his team. We’ve got Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh on our team. So it’s a lot different.”

After all, the last time they met in a Final Four — the college one — the 2008 national championship was on the line.

Rose made one of two foul shots with 10.8 seconds left in regulation, giving Memphis a 63-60 lead. Chalmers got the ball on the right wing with 5 seconds left as he curled toward the top of the key, stopped after one dribble and took one of the biggest shots in Kansas’ storied history. His three-pointer over Rose’s outstretched arm swished, the teams went to overtime, where KU prevailed, 75-68.

“Never get tired of talking about it,” Chalmers said. “It’s probably one of the greatest compliments I’ve had in my lifetime. It’ll be a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

An NBA title would be right up there, too.

And to get one of those this season, Miami will likely have to contain Rose a bit.

The Heat are not expected to change their starting lineup for the East finals, which means Mike Bibby will be at the point to open games.

But given how the regular season went, it’s a safe guess Miami will use Chalmers plenty against Rose.

Rose was on the court against Chalmers for 91:32 in the teams’ three games, all won by Chicago. In that time, Rose shot 43 percent from the floor, was 1-for-8 from three-point range, 16-for-17 from the foul line and scored 0.71 points per minute.

When Rose was on the floor without Chalmers, a total of 26:54, he shot 50 percent and scored 0.82 points per minute.

“Rio’s going to have to be smart,” Wade said. “ ... Rio is an aggressive defender. But he has to be smart versus a guy like D-Rose.”

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