Not-so-super Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers

SAN ANTONIO -- It was a dramatic way for Chris Bosh to get his message across, even to a player who has become used to emotional outbursts directed his way.

Bosh grabbed Mario Chalmers by both sides of his face Thursday night and looked him dead in his eyes, the way ... well, there's no way around it, the way you would see in one of those overly dramatic Hollywood love stories.

But while Bosh's message to his point guard did come from the heart, it wasn't nearly as intense as the pose would suggest it was.

"I was telling him to pass me the ball," Bosh said.

See, not dramatic at all.

In fact, you'd think Bosh could've told Chalmers that without even looking at him, much less touching his face.

But then again, given how erratic Chalmers has been of late, perhaps the extra emphasis was necessary.

Chalmers played only 17 minutes in Game 1 of his fourth NBA Finals. But he crammed a whole lot of awful into that time.

He committed five of Miami's 18 turnovers, was whistled for five fouls, which is what limited his minutes, and made only one shot in three attempts, a step-back 3-pointer in the final minutes that was quickly followed by another turnover to help doom the Heat.

There was a little dash of decent mixed in, including a block on Tony Parker and three steals from a sloppy Spurs offense.

But the performance was actually consistent with how Chalmers has played this postseason. The player who normally provides Miami with a timely boost every handful of games has been in one of his more significant funks at an inopportune time.

Chalmers hasn't had a double-figure scoring night since May 8, which would be a full month by the time Game 2 tips Sunday. Thursday's game was his second five-turnover game in his last six, during which his assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.1-to-1. He's averaging less than one made 3 per game in the postseason, and his 6.8 postseason scoring average and 5.8 field-goal attempts per game would be the lowest of his six playoff appearances.

Thursday's Game 1 might have been the low point of Chalmers' playoffs so far, but given his recent play, it wasn't exactly shocking.

Chalmers says there's a reason for his sub-standard play, but it doesn't seem like enough to explain the sharp drop-off from a player who commonly boosts Miami.

"I'm just dealing with different things, trying to fight through it as much as I can," Chalmers said. "Nothing injury-wise, nothing personal, just trying to figure out where I fit in.

"I don't think I'm handling as much as I was in previous playoffs. But it's something coach made an adjustment to. I've just got to figure out a way to be effective."

Chalmers wasn't alone in his ineffective point guard play. Norris Cole wasn't exactly stellar in relief of the foul-plagued Chalmers. But after two early turnovers, Cole at least settled down and contributed five assists and a couple of steals.

"

When he shoots the ball and makes shots and takes care of the ball, we're a markedly, markedly different team.

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