So Chalmers is nowhere near worried about becoming the Heat's second choice at point guard in the fourth quarter of late. Coach Erik Spoelstra has gone more with second-year guard Norris Cole in the closing moments because of Chalmers' struggles.
To Chalmers, it's just part of the long NBA regular season.
"To me, as long as we're winning, that's all that matters," Chalmers said. "Of course, I'd love to be out there in the fourth quarter. But if I'm not out there, I'm still cheering on my teammates. It always changes. I guess coach goes with whoever is playing the best at that time."
Cole has clearly been more valuable to the Heat in the fourth quarters because of defense. It was one of the reasons they made the draft day trade to acquire him from the Chicago Bulls. Cole started strong his rookie season before hitting a wall late.
"Norris has been playing well," guard Dwyane Wade said. "I think coach always goes with which point guard is playing well and what we need. Defensively, is what we need. Norris is playing well defensively and he's not doing anything to hurt us on the offensive end with the opportunity he gets. .. But we still need Rio to be successful. He hit a couple 3s last game (against Atlanta) which was good. He's in a slump but once he gets his confidence back, it's going to be big for us."
The fact Chalmers is struggling comes as no surprise. He has battled inconsistent play during his five-year career. The latest bout began when he tore a tendon in left ring finger against the Washington Wizards Dec. 4. He said the injury has set him back because of the pain.
"I'm very close," Chalmers said. "I'm still getting healthy. For me, I'm still trying to get back into my groove. For (Cole), he's still trying to find his game. He's been doing a great job lately and we just have to go from there."
Ideally, the Heat want to see Chalmers and Cole simultaneously play at a high level. Spoelstra said that is when the team is at its best. That has yet to happen in their two years together because Chalmers has always dealt with inconsistent play while Cole is still adjusting to playing at the next level.
"We need both of them to play well at the same time for us to win," forward LeBron James said. "Ultimately, we can't have one struggling and one playing well. We need both to play well at the same time. When they complement each other, it's better for our team."
Chalmers said, "When we're both playing well, it makes us a lot better. Sometimes, it makes us unbeatable when he and I are playing great. We have to get back to that."
Chalmers began the season by recording a couple of 11-assists games, but has since seen his play decline. He is shooting just 40 percent from the field and averaging 2.4 assists in the last five games. Spoelstra said he will continue to ride with the hotter of the two players.
"We'd love to have 48 minutes of very good point-guard basketball," Spoelstra said. "It may change from game to game. I know the focus right now is on Norris because he's making some improvement. But Rio has had some good days that's he's putting together. I think he's going to come back and contribute the way he's capable of. When we get to that point where both of the guys are playing good in the same game, that'll change the complexion of our team."
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