Before tipping of Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, Dunking With Wolves of Fansided.com will be having some previews on key NBA players, outside of the spotlight hogs in Durant and LeBron, competing for the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy in this year’s 7-game series finale. To start things off, we begin by looking at some of the not-so-flashy-yet-game-changing-players from both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat.
Oklahoma City Thunder
PG – DEREK FISHER: The acquisition of Derek Fisher during the regular season has certainly played a key role in the recent success of the young Oklahoma City Thunder. After winning 5 NBA championships alongside Kobe Bryant (2000-2002 and 2009-2010) and Shaquille O’neal (2000-2002), Fisher definitely brings that championship experience to the Thunder. Aside from just having experience playing in the NBA Finals, Derek Fisher has shined in the NBA Finals. A man quoted to have made a million clutch shots in the NBA playoffs, Fisher certainly performs best when it matters the most. Fisher played a key role in the 2000-2002 three-peat title run of the Lakers but in the Lakers’ last two NBA championships, Fisher showed that he could still do it despite his old age. In Game 4 of 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic, Fisher hit a game-tying three pointer which would eventually send the game into overtime where Fisher again would hit a three pointer which would give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead. In Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Fisher would have an NBA Finals game to remember. Fisher scored 11 points in the fourth quarter alone which included a tough, fast break lay-up against three Celtic defenders which would then result to an “and-one”. Fisher certainly knows how to step it up when it matters the most. Against the Spurs, Fisher came up big once again by making a three pointer and a bank shot with under 5 minutes to play in the Game 6, the close-out game. Fisher will not be needed by the Thunder that much against the explosive Heat, but the Thunder are certainly glad to have the old man ready to shoot some daggers as he always does.
PG – Mario Chalmers: We can safely say that Chalmers has been the 4th best player for the Heat in the post season and quite possibly the 3rd best because Bosh spent some time on the sidelines in a suit. In this post season, especially against the Celtics, Chalmers has shown his aggressiveness by attacking the paint and making layup after layup. Going up against one of the best point guards in the NBA in Rajon Rondo, Chalmers didn’t do quite bad himself with the things he needed to do to help the Heat eliminate the gritty Celtics. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics, Chalmers never had a game where he scored under 9 points. In a Game 2 win, Chalmers poured in 22 points which included some tough lay-ups and floaters which we rarely see from him before. LeBron and Wade definitely taught this young guy a thing or two on driving and being fearless going into the paint against bigger defenders that he normally would face outside the three point line. With the Big 3, Chalmers obviously doesn’t have much things to do and doesn’t necessarily need to score 20 points a contest. However, Chalmers needs to be ready when one or two of the members of the Big 3 have a bad game. Chalmers has proven that well this post season so far whenever Dwyane Wade would have those 1st half droughts against the Celtics. In the playoffs, Chalmers has been averaging 11.6 points per game, and 3.9 assists and rebounds per game as well. If those numbers come up consistently in the 2012 NBA Finals, the Heat are looking good. In last year’s NBA Finals, Chalmers basically got “schooled” by veteran Jason Kidd. This year, he’ll probably be facing a young and bigger All-Star in Russell Westbrook and a championship tested Derek Fisher. Chalmers will need to be confident as he always has been his entire NBA career.
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