The NBA is filled with a conglomeration of type-A personalities. It would be ludicrous to believe that all NBA teammates get along perfectly well as they all fight together towards the dream of winning a championship. But no. NBA players have egos. Should they not? Indeed, they are the best basketball players in the world.
Two of these egos clashed on the sideline last night during the Heat vs. Pacers game.
With eight minutes left in the third quarter, a defensive breakdown allowed Paul George to sink a wide open 3-pointer from the left wing to stretch the Pacers lead to 63-49. LeBron James was clearly frustrated with Mario Chalmers as he expected the point guard to close out and contest George off of a screen. Instead, Chalmers stuck with the big man down low, allowing George to take a shot NBA shooters could make in their sleep. Words were exchanged by James and Chalmers on the floor as a a time-out call was made by Erik Spoelstra for damage control during the run by the Pacers.
Once LeBron was seated on the bench, Chalmers had a few more words for James as the team was preparing to gather for the time-out. After responding calmly to the first few comments by the point guard, LeBron took exception to something he said an lunged from his seat at the point guard. James was restrained by Haslem, and after a few words, Chalmers backed off from the 6’8 beast of a man that James is.
Before fans believe the notion that James and Chalmers perhaps have an intense dislike for each, look at these three factors attributing to this breakout.
1. This is the Heat vs. the Pacers. The biggest rivalry in the NBA. The Pacers have been talking big, and Miami is getting stomped on in the third quarter. Emotions are high, and this is as close to a playoff game as you’re going to get in the regular season.
2. LeBron was already very frustrated from a few questionable calls that forced him to sit the final minutes of the first half when the Pacers exploded on a run. It was the first time I’ve seen James somewhat closely resemble his purely unstoppable minutes from Game 6 of the Finals last season, when LeBron took control of the fourth quarter to force Game 7.
3. The Big Three have always looked at Chalmers as the “little brother” on the team, and he has been given “tough love” by his teammates in the past.
Soon after the brawl, in true leadership fashion, the camera’s caught LeBron swallowing his pride and saying the words, “Rio. I was wrong, my bad.”
Once it was over, LeBron was the argument was something that apparently lit the fire of the two-time reigning M.V.P., who led the team back to a 97-94 victory over the Pacers.
LeBron and Chalmers did make further peace later… at least via twitter.
I love @mchalmers15 like a blood brother! I was wrong and apologized to him! We good and will always be good. I ride wit him any & every day
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 19, 2013
And Chalmers responded later:
All good big bro @KingJames. At the end of the day we brothas and nothin gonna change that
— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) December 19, 2013
Although no one likes to see members of the same team fight, it got the Heat rolling at home against Indiana, and they now sit just a game out of first in the Eastern Conference.