Mario Chalmers: 'This Is One of the Toughest Challenges I've Ever Been Through'

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2014

Mario Chalmers has struggled through the first three games of the NBA Finals, and according to Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick, he knows it:

So do his teammates:

Perhaps most importantly, so does head coach Erik Spoelstra:

CBSSports.com's Matt Moore notes that part of Chalmers' problem has been decision-making: 

Chalmers' primary issue in Game 3 was poor decisions and luck. Open corner 3s wouldn't fall. When he needed to pass, he would shoot. When he needed to shoot, he would pass. And he would constantly manage to find his man, but guess wrong on whether to close or play the drive.

Those missed shots are starting to add up, too. Chalmers has made just three of 12 field-goal attempts thus far in the Finals. He has more fouls (12) than points (10).

This certainly isn't the same point guard we saw at this time a year ago. Chalmers scored 19 points in a Game 2 win during the 2013 NBA Finals. He added 20 in a Game 6 victory and another 14 in the series-clinching Game 7.

At this point, it's hard to say what's wrong with the 28-year-old, but it's abundantly clear that something is seriously awry.

And it's costing Miami dearly.

ESPN.com's Michael Wallace profiles the damage:

The most glaring weak spot for the Heat in this series has been the disparity at the point. Saddled by foul trouble in Game 1, Chalmers was assessed a flagrant foul penalty for his elbow shot on Tony Parker at a pivotal point in Game 2 and finished 0-for-5 with two points and three turnovers Tuesday. Mix in Norris Cole's erratic stretches off the bench in the series, and it's clear that Parker and Spurs backup Patty Mills are dominating the point guard matchup in the series.

Now we'll await some improvement. Whether it's the film sessions or a confidence boost from his teammates, Chalmers will need to turn things around sooner rather than later in order for Miami to have some measure of a comfort zone against these San Antonio Spurs.

As scorching as San Antonio's offense has been, Miami's shooters have to fire on all cylinders to keep pace.

It wouldn't be surprising to see Chalmers look for his shot early on in Game 4 in an attempt to restore some semblance of rhythm. Though Miami certainly doesn't want him forcing anything, a fully operational Chalmers would go a long way toward improving the Heat's chances in this series.

They need all the help they can get.

Chalmers and Co. will attempt to bounce back in Game 4 on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET. You can catch all the action on ABC.

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