Fast Breaks: Chalmers, defense help Heat even Finals vs. Spurs
Well, it's a series. Miami bounced back from a tough Game 1 loss to even the NBA Finals at one game apiece, blowing out the Spurs 103-84 in Game 2.
Super Mario. Has there ever been a key player more maligned than Mario Chalmers? Chalmers is the Heat's punching bag, the kid brother so often publicly scolded by his superstar teammates. But Miami knows Chalmers' value and knows how important it is to get him going. After shooting 3 for 10 in Game 1 and allowing Tony Parker to dominate, Chalmers was an easy target. But he redeemed himself in Game 2, scoring 19 points (on 6-of-12 shooting), committing zero turnovers and helping limit Parker to 13 points (on 5-of-14 shooting) and five turnovers.
The Big Three will garner most of the attention in this series but Miami will live and die with Chalmers, who must provide solid, two-way play for the Heat to win.
Turnovers galore. San Antonio wasn't particularly careful with the basketball during the regular season, averaging a middle-of-the-pack 14.1 turnovers per game, which made its four turnovers in Game 1 especially impressive. Taking care of the ball is a must against Miami; you can easily make the argument that if Indiana committed half the turnovers they did against the Heat, they would be in the Finals. As good as San Antonio was with ball protection in Game 1, they were as bad in Game 2, turning it over 17 times, errors that led to 19 Miami points.
LeBron channels inner Magic. Last series, with Dwyane Wade hurt and Chris Bosh struggling, James was forced to put his Michael Jordan cape on and will the Heat to victories. This series, it's a little different. James didn't shoot the ball particularly well in Game 2, but he kick-started a staggering 36-5 run late in the third quarter with strong screens, smart passing (seven assists) and spectacular defense, highlighted by a soon-to-be-a-poster block of Tiago Splitter in the fourth quarter. James continues to show the variety of ways in which he can dominate a game, and that even on nights he is struggling he can still be the best player on the floor.
Welcome back, Chris Bosh. Bosh submitted his best all-around game since Game 3 of the second-round series against Chicago, posting a tidy line of 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a block in 31 minutes. After missing all four of his three-point attempts in Game 1, Bosh operated exclusively inside the arc, muscling inside for dunks and smoothly knocking down 15-footers. Defensively, Bosh was part of a Heat front line that limited Splitter and Tim Duncan to 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Just a quality performance from Miami's big man.