In Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, Shane Battier presented his teammates with an unexpected gift by delivering the highest-scoring consecutive games by a Heat supporting cast member in these playoffs.
We have to take Shane out of the game, Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins said Saturday. He has been the X-factor.
So who among the rest of the Big 3s ensemble can also make an imprint on this series?
Udonis Haslem has done his part, with 15 rebounds combined in the first two games. Norris Cole has contributed modestly, especially defensively in Game 2.
Battier and the Big 3 were so sharp Thursday night that Miami won despite receiving no more than three points from anyone else on the roster.
But the Heat clearly needs more from Mario Chalmers, who has been generally solid in the postseason (11.2 points, 3.9 assists, 44.1 percent shooting).
Since generating 10 points and five assists in the first half of Game 1, Chalmers has gone silent, mustering just five points and two assists in six quarters while missing 9 of 11 shots.
Aside from getting three steals, his Game 2 performance was forgettable: three points, one assist, three turnovers, 1-for-7 shooting and several scoldings by teammates.
Chalmers said coach Erik Spoelstra has told him to look for my shot more, be more aggressive, pick my spots better.
The last time Chalmers shot this poorly (3 for 9, nine points in Game 1 against the Celtics), he shot 8 for 16 and scored 22 points in the next game.
But earlier in these playoffs the final two games of the Knicks series and the first two of the Pacers series Chalmers suffered through a stretch shooting 2 for 10, 4 for 10, 0 for 3 and 2 for 10.
So for Game 3 on Sunday night, nobody knows if the Heat will get Good Mario or Bad Mario.
If Rio gets going, that would really be something to help us out, Chris Bosh said.
Though Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has made only 20 of 50 shots in the Finals, he has 18 assists and just four turnovers, compared with seven and four for Chalmers. Westbrook, who has been defended a lot by Dwyane Wade, has outscored Chalmers 54-15.
Its unclear how much the Heat can extract out of Mike Miller, who played 10 minutes in Game 1 and 1:17 in Game 2. Spoelstra said his entire roster is healthy, and Miller said his limited playing time Thursday was not the result of injury.
Hes healthy enough, Spoelstra said. Hes giving us everything he can.
But Miller has clearly been affected by back discomfort that stems from his sports hernia before the season.
It has definitely been difficult with injuries, he said Saturday.
Miller declined to discuss his level of pain, saying there are things Im dealing with, but it will be fine. Ive had a lot of inspirational talks with my body.
And what precisely did he tell his body? Hang in there, he said.
Miller said he told Spoelstra that he is physically able to give him whatever he wants. At this point, I can do anything for another week, week and a half.
James Jones played just five minutes Thursday but hit his only shot. And when he and Cole play, it allows LeBron James and Wade to get a bit more rest.
For them to take the sacrifice not knowing when theyre going to play, but always staying ready, we appreciate it so much, Wade said. J.J. hit a tough shot when we needed it. Norris has been doing a good job of giving us different looks defensively, and his youth and athletic ability have been helping us.