Nationals

Mario Chalmers goes on a 3-point spree for Heat

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Mario Chalmers goes on a 3-point spree for Heat

Mario Chalmers' teammates were yelling at him again, as were a few coaches. Dwyane Wade threw a towel his way, and LeBron James even placed the Miami Heat point guard in a headlock.

This was all good.

Chalmers put on a shooting display to remember in Sacramento on Saturday night, making 10 3-pointers - the most in the NBA this season and good enough to tie a 20-year-old Heat franchise record, part of his career-best 34-point effort as Miami topped the Kings 128-99, the biggest point total put up so far this season by the reigning NBA champions.

``Rio had it goin', man,'' James said. ``And we kept finding him. It was awesome.''

Chalmers' final numbers: 12-for-16 from the floor, 10-for-13 from beyond the arc, and one of those misses was a 45-footer that bounced off the rim just before the halftime buzzer. He's long been the player that teammates love to chastise on the floor when things aren't going right for the Heat, though moments like that have become increasingly rare this season.

And on Saturday, no one could have thought of any complaints, anyway.

``I got started early,'' said Chalmers, who had made 10 of his last 33 tries from 3-point range before his barrage against the Kings. ``I started off with two easy layups, and then my teammates did a good job of finding me open behind the 3.''

Sure enough, Chalmers' first two baskets Saturday were at the rim, and then everything else was from long range.

For the Heat, it was a bounce-back game after two straight losses.

For Chalmers, it was a bounce-back effort after a chance to be a hero in Portland one game earlier went awry.

The Heat trailed by two with 10.4 seconds left Thursday night against the Trail Blazers, and on a final possession where Wade, James and Chris Bosh all touched the ball, the last shot went to Chalmers - wide open from the right wing. His 3-pointer looked so good that Wade prematurely started to extend his arms in celebration, but the shot hit the back of the rim, then the front, then bounced away as time expired.

Chalmers walked off the floor, his head down.

One game later, he was back, and in a big way.

``I just wanted to get back into a good rhythm,'' said Chalmers, who is still perhaps best identified with hitting the overtime-forcing 3-pointer in the NCAA title game where his Kansas team topped Derrick Rose and Memphis for the national championship in 2008. ``I feel like I've been struggling all season. Especially missing that last shot in Portland, I wanted to get my mind on things, come out here and redeem myself a little bit.''

Miami plays at Utah on Monday night.

Chalmers became the fourth Heat player to score at least 34 points in a game this season - no other team in the league has more than three who can say that, and eight teams haven't had a single player reach 34 entering Sunday's play. And according to STATS LLC, Chalmers became just the third player since 1990 to make 10 3-pointers on 13 attempts or less in a game.

Ty Lawson was 10-for-11 for Denver against Minnesota on April 9, 2011, and George McCloud went 10-for-12 from long range for Dallas against Phoenix on Dec. 16, 1995.

The only other Heat player with 10 3-pointers in a game was Brian Shaw in 1993.

``This is a classic one for Mario,'' Wade said. ``I liked it because he just had an opportunity in the last game to hit a game-winner and he missed it. I liked that he came back aggressive. Credit to him for tying a Heat record, hitting 10 3's, I mean, that's just a phenomenal feat. We all know that Mario, no matter what goes on, he's a big-game type player.''

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said there was some thought of giving Chalmers a chance to break the team record and try for an 11th 3-pointer. But his 10th came with 3:12 remaining in what was then a 33-point game, and Chalmers was subbed out for the remainder of play 20 seconds later.

With that, the celebrating on the bench began.

``Everything came within the flow,'' Spoelstra said. ``Obviously, the last one, he was going for it, but everybody was rooting him on. It came from a lot of good ball movement, a lot of great spacing, guys were very unselfish and there were a lot of wide-open shots because of that. And it was great to see him knock those down.''

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Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Back before all this mania, Miami, as putrid as its season would be, loomed as a factor.

Handling the Marlins would be key for any contender. It wasn’t a question of winning, but of how much winning would occur against one of the league’s worst teams.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win in a sparsely attended Marlins Park, the Nationals moved to 14-3 against Miami this season. They are 16 games over. 500 for the year. They are plus-11 against Miami alone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered again, Trea Turner hit two homers, and Daniel Hudson pitched two innings to earn the save. So, the Nationals, 84-68, hold a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot. Milwaukee won again, joining a long list of teams to beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates since the post-All-Star-break portion of the schedule began. Pittsburgh may be the league’s worst team, at the moment, and the Brewers host it for two more this weekend.

Trouble is brewing for Chicago. It lost again to St. Louis -- this time a 2-1 mid-day defeat in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost four in a row. They are three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Brewers. Their path to 90 wins, which may ultimately be the threshold for postseason entrance, is narrowing.

The Mets won their third consecutive game. They are hanging around, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers with nine remaining on the schedule. Their wild-card elimination number is six.

News for Philadelphia is more dire. The Phillies dropped to 78-74 Friday night following a 5-2 loss in Cleveland. They are now five behind Milwaukee. Their wild-card elimination number is a mere five. 

Which brings us to the more detailed math portion of this program. Here are the postseason chances for each team, according to fivethirtyeight.com:

Nationals, 96 percent

Brewers, 84 percent

Cubs, 15 percent

Mets, 5 percent

Phillies, less than one percent

Coming up Saturday:

St. Louis at Chicago, 2:20 p.m., Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Quintana (13-8, 4.37)

New York at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m., Wheeler (11-7, 4.09) vs. DeSclafani (9-9, 3.93)

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87)

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m., Vargas (6-8, 4.48) vs. Plesac (8-6, 3.64)

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m., Marvel (0-2, 9.00) vs. Davies (10-7, 3.70)

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

Check out the latest news and notes from the  Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse. 

Player Updates:

2B Jonathan Villar went 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored in Friday’s win over the Mariners. Villar singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning and came around to score on Anthony Santander’s three-run homer. He stole his 37th base of the season after walking to lead off the seventh. The speed is great, but he’s also pitched in 23 homers, 69 RBI, and 106 runs scored to go along with a .277/.344/.462 batting line. 

2B Hanser Alberto went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk Friday against Seattle. Alberto is now up to 12 homers on the year, with nine of them coming during the second half. The 26-year-old has faded here in September, but he still finds himself among the league-leaders with a .313 batting average. Nobody would have predicted that in the spring.

OF Anthony Santander finished 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Mariners. Santander delivered the big blow in a four-run first inning against Felix Hernandez. He’s now homered twice in his last three games, bringing his total to 20 despite appearing in just 91 games this season. The Orioles are looking for building blocks and the 24-year-old switch-hitter would appear to be one of them.

SP Aaron Brooks threw seven innings of one-run ball for the win against the Mariners on Friday. He came on in relief of opener Richard Bleier, who allowed a two-run shot to Kyle Lewis over his two innings of work. Brooks induced just three swinging strikes in his 83 pitches, but it didn’t really matter, as he Seattle’s lineup to just one hit while walking one and striking out four. 

Injuries

OF Mason Williams, knee, out indefinitely

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Monday 9/23: Orioles vs Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. Rogers Centre

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