The main attraction at the Sprint Center on Friday night was supposed to be the preseason NBA game between the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors.
But the Royals — just like they’ve been doing for about 10 days now — stole the show.
Jeremy Guthrie, Eric Hosmer, Jarrod Dyson, Salvador Perez and Johnny Giavotella made their way to the corner of the arena in the third quarter of Miami’s 115-108 victory.
The game suddenly became sort of a background attraction, as the crowd focused on the Royals.
The Royals players displayed the American League Championship trophy during a timeout to a raucous ovation.
Guthrie and Dyson competed in a shooting contest. Guthrie won, but Dyson dunked twice to, ahem, steal, ahem, the show.
They departed to cheers and chants of “Let’s go Royals!”
As for the NBA basketball, Kansas fans in the crowd were happy with what they saw. Former Jayhawk Mario Chalmers hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 5:04 to play, as the Heat dominated the fourth quarter 32-13.
It was the first preseason meeting between the two teams since 1999.
Shawne Williams hit a three-pointer of his own with 32 seconds left for the Heat that proved to be the dagger.
Chalmers is contending for the Heat’s point guard spot. That would suit the crowd in attendance at the Sprint Center. He finished with 13 points.
“Here and North Carolina, my ticket requests is crazy. It’s good to play in front of friends and family, though,” Chalmers said with a smile. “We come by once a year and play, it’s always an entertaining game. We always want to come out here and play in front of the Jayhawk fans.”
Chalmers signed a few more autographs before the game. He entered the game at the 7:38 mark of the first quarter to one of the loudest ovations of the evening. He got the same response when he drilled a three a few minutes later.
Roles will undoubtedly change as the Heat adjust to life without LeBron James, and Chalmers isn’t worried about how he’ll fit into the plan.
“That’s up to coach. He’s doing a great job of getting everybody involved and keeping everybody calm and getting everybody ready for the game,” Chalmers said. “Right now we’re doing a lot of ball movement, keeping everybody involved, so that’s a good thing.”
A couple of months have passed since the Heat’s NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs, but the disappointment hasn’t faded.
“To be able to go to the finals like that and lose the way we did was tough, but at the same time it’s a new year, new team, and we’re focused and driven for this year,” Chalmers said.
The Heat, 1-4 in the preseason, had a 27-23 lead after the first quarter, but not much went right in the middle of the game.
Golden State, 4-1, exploded for 33 points to take control. The Warriors found open looks and had little trouble converting.
David Lee (24 points) and Klay Thompson (29 points) took turns scoring.
Miami, meanwhile, had a couple of 24-second violations, and wasn’t able to replicate the offensive flow of Golden State. The Heat had six players in double figures, led by 21 points from Chris Bosh. Williams and Dwayne Wade scored 19 each.
The Heat turned it around in the fourth quarter. The Heat chipped away, quickly pulling within three points before Golden State responded.
But Miami’s third charge was the charm. The Heat ripped off a 7-0 run to take control of the game going away.