Off Day wrap up from San Antonio: Erik Spoelstra frustrated with Mario Chalmers
SAN ANTONIO — Emptying out the notebook from an off day near the Alamo….
• Erik Spoelstra is generally positive about players to the press and in public. He’s never really Popovich harsh on guys.
But in his Friday press conference Spoeltra was clearly frustrated with Mario Chalmers, who played just 17 minutes in Game 1 due to foul trouble. “Rio” has had more and more fouls through the playoffs, but due to the heat and humidity in the AT&T Center during Game 1 his foul trouble presented a much bigger problem.
“That hurt last night, 17 minutes,” Spoelstra said, talking about the minutes Chalmers played in Game 1. “We were managing the minutes the best that we could and getting guys in and out, played nine guys and nobody played deep minutes, but those extra 15 or 16 minutes from Rio probably would have helped. And he needs to be more attentive to technique and earlier in his thought process. Things are happening very quickly obviously at this level of competition and your preparation before the play happens is paramount.
“Now, Rio is very important to our success, he understands that, and I believe he will be better with the next game.”
If not, that could be the first line-up change Eric Spoelstra makes.
• Chalmers admitted he has to be smarter on defense.
“Just gotta be careful with my touch fouls,” Chalmers said. “I get a lot of touch fouls and I got to figure out a way to adjust.”
• At one point during Game 1 Chris Bosh kind of grabbed Chalmers by the head to get his attention and, according to Bosh, told Chalmers to get his head in the game and make the simple pass. Chalmers pretty much backed that up.
“I was frustrated with it being the first game, Game 1 of the Finals and being in foul trouble and not be able to help my team,” Chalmers said. “I was getting a little frustrated. He was just trying to keep me in the game.”
At least they weren’t yelling at Chalmers.
• Dwyane Wade wisely would not take the bait and talk about Gatorade. That is one of Wade’s sponsors (and the league’s) but their official twitter account criticized LeBron James for cramping up (the company later apologized). Wade said he has not spoken to anyone at Gatorade and he is too smart a pitchman to get in the middle of that one.
• Wade summing up what the heat did to the Heat: “I think part of our problem was mental and physical fatigue.”
• How did Manu Ginobili cool down after that game? “I got home, turned the AC to 64 and lay down on my couch there for a few minutes.”
• San Antonio switched up how they defended the Heat in Game 1 compared to last year’s Finals, they were more aggressive taking away space for LeBron and Wade to work, they were going over picks not under. We’ll get more into that as we get closer to Sunday, but we’re not going to break it down as well as Couper Moorhead for Heat.com, if you love the chess game of the Finals go read that.
• Gregg Popovich on “toughness”: “It depends what you mean by ‘toughness.’
Mental toughness is often confused with a blatant, physical sort of aggression, which isn’t really true. I think you have to be careful when you talk about whether this person is tough or that person it tough.”
• Popovich also had the best line of the day, talking about the air conditioning being out for Game 1: “ll I know is that I saw all the air conditioning people in the hallways on my way out last night and I sent them home.”
(He was joking, it’s fixed.)