Heat | Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers overcomes injury, sparks Miami Heat in Game 2 win over Charlotte Bobcats

 
 
Mario Chalmers knocks the ball away from the Bobcats’ Kemba Walker in the third quarter. The Miami Heat host the Charlotte Bobcats at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
Mario Chalmers knocks the ball away from the Bobcats’ Kemba Walker in the third quarter. The Miami Heat host the Charlotte Bobcats at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
Al Diaz / Staff Photo

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra questioned whether Mario Chalmers would play Wednesday night because of a shin contusion.

Chalmers didn’t seem to have such concerns.

Not only did Chalmers start Wednesday against the visiting Bobcats, but scored nine of Miami’s first 11 points in its 101-97 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series that shifts to North Carolina for Game 3 on Saturday. Miami has won 18 straight against Charlotte.

“We’re not even thinking about that,’’ Chalmers said after the game, one in which he ended with 11 points after not scoring in the second half.

“It’s the playoffs, it’s a whole new season. The only thing we know is we’re up two games to none.’’

Chalmers said he was injured in the opening period of Sunday’s win over the Bobcats but played through it.

Although the injury was something Chalmers had to deal with, it was one that seemingly got better as the week went along.

In his pregame address with the media, Spoelstra said he wasn’t sure if Chalmers would go but would warm up with “the intention to play.’’ In the locker room a few minutes later, Chalmers told a few reporters that he was going to play.

The Heat sure is glad he did.

“He was sharp,’’ Spoelstra said after the game. “He gave us a lift in the first quarter.’’

Down 2-0, Chalmers opened the scoring with a three-pointer from 25 feet out a minute into the game.

Aside from a LeBron James fadeaway jumper 1:37 in, Chalmers was all the scoring the Heat got for a while. His three-pointer with 6:23 left in the first gave Miami an 11-10 lead and gave him nine points.

“I just wanted to come out aggressive,’’ Chalmers said. “I wanted to bring energy to that first unit.’’

Spoelstra said that Chalmers looked a little fatigued as the game went on as he finished his scoring for the night in the second quarter.

Chalmers said his shin continued to tighten up, something he had to pay attention to as the night wore on.

“It was nothing major but I need to find a way to keep my shin loose,’’ said Chalmers, who said he’s been applying heat packs to the area. “I was going to do what I could do. The first day we didn’t know if [he could play] but it felt better Tuesday. And I felt good in shoot-around.’’

Miami obviously has a strong backup to Chalmers in Norris Cole, who played almost 23 minutes and scored five points with two assists and a steal.

“We played well together, but there’s always room for improvement,’’ Cole said. “[Chalmers] got off to such a great start and our team is that much better when we’re both playing well like that. We’re going to try and keep it going.’’

Cole hit a big three-pointer with nine minutes left, giving Miami a nine-point lead. It looked like the Heat was going to close out the Bobcats at that point — Dwyane Wade scored moments later to open the lead to 11 — but Charlotte battled back.

“It’s the playoffs, and we knew they weren’t going to lie down,’’ said Cole, who was part of Miami’s past two championships in his first two NBA seasons. “This is a game of runs. Whomever can sustain the runs the best is going to win. We didn’t think anything was in doubt.’’

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