The Indiana Pacers might need to have a more comprehensive strategy for dealing with Mario Chalmers should they again meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Most importantly, they may need to make sure the point guard doesn't make any of his superstar teammates too angry.
Because the Pacers won't like LeBron James when he's angry ... at Mario Chalmers.
Chalmers, dubbed the "the most-yelled-at man in the NBA" in 2012 because of the way his superstar teammates treat him, enraged James during the third quarter of a nationally televised matchup of the top two teams in the East on Wednesday night. Although it looked like James might knock out Chalmers at one point, it was the Pacers who seemed to ultimately pay the price. The trouble for Chalmers -- and perhaps the Pacers -- began when James took exception to a defensive miscommunication that freed up Paul George to stretch Indiana's lead to 63-49 with a wide-open three-point shot with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter.
"This was the Miami bench during this last timeout," ESPN announcer Mike Breen explained as a replay of the sideline standoff was shown following a commercial break. "Chalmers and James still talking about it. James gets very upset with Chalmers right here and gets in his face. These two have had that kind of relationship. Chalmers has always been kind of the little brother that they yell at."
Seated when Chalmers began talking to him during the timeout, James leaped out of his seat and needed to be restrained by teammate Udonis Haslem. Wisely, Chalmers backed away.
(GIF via @BlazersEdge)
A short while later, James appeared to apologize to his teammate for nearly knocking him down on the sideline.
With the internal strife apparently ended, the Heat rallied for a thrilling 97-94 win to even the season series between the teams, 1-1. From the defensive miscue that set up George to sink that three-pointer in the third quarter through the end of the game, the Heat outscored the Pacers 48-31. The comeback was certainly a team effort -- Chris Bosh tied the game with a three-point make late -- but James certainly made his presence felt after nearly taking out Chalmers. He finished out the balance of the third with five points and two assists and then scored five quick points in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter as the Heat twice closed within a possession for the first time since the first half.
UPDATE: Not long after the win, LeBron James took to Twitter to let everyone know that he had apologized.
I love @mchalmers15 like a blood brother! I was wrong and apologized to him! We good and will always be good. I ride wit him any & every day
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 19, 2013