INDIANAPOLIS -- Thank goodness for Mario Chalmers on Thursday night. Who knows how bad it would have been for the Miami Heat without him.
As it was, the Heat were run out of the gym 94-75 by the Pacers as Indiana took a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals. Chalmers led all scorers with 25 points -- thisclose to the 27 points LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (five) combined for.
"It's good to see him be aggressive and that's what we need from him," coach Erik Spoelstra said of Chalmers. "We need him to be offensive minded, get into the paint and make plays as another ballhandler and playmaker. He also has to run the team. He has a lot of responsibility. This will help moving forward."
Chalmers, coming off a rough outing in Sunday's loss in Miami, turned up his game on Thursday, as his eight points in the first quarter were almost as many as he scored in the opening two games of the series (nine). Chalmers' 25 points set a personal postseason record, topping the 20 he scored against Boston (2010) and Philadelphia (2011).
With both James and Wade struggling from the field, Chalmers was Miami's unexpected offensive force, carrying the Heat to what was a short-lived comeback midway through the fourth.
In the fourth, with the Heat down 18, Chalmers went on a personal 7-0 run he kicked off with a 30-foot shot. Chalmers' run -- and the nice dish to Wade that the Heat star easily put in for just his second field goal of the night -- brought Miami to within 11 points with plenty of time remaining.
Yet Chalmers didn't score again after that -- and the Heat watched Indiana retake control of the game. Chalmers said he fell hard on his wrist but X-rays were negative. Although the wrist is sore, Chalmers said he'll be fine for Sunday's Game 4.
"On the plane, I spoke with D-Wade and he told me with Bosh out this was my chance to step up," Chalmers said. "The main thing for me was staying out of foul trouble. I did that in the first two games, couldn't get into a rhythm and help my team. That wasn't the case (Thursday)."