Friday May 31st, 2013

A third-quarter skirmish between the Heat and Pacers in Game 5 produced a total of three technical fouls, and it wasn't even the biggest altercation of the night.

Headlining honors went to Chris "Birdman" Andersen, for a shove of Tyler Hansbrough that earned a flagrant foul 1 and could potentially result in his suspension for Game 6.

But members of both teams got into it again midway through the third quarter, after Pacers guard George Hill was whistled for an offensive foul during a drive in transition. Following the charge call, Pacers forward David West walked over to initiate a conversation with Mario Chalmers, perhaps taking exception to a light shove delivered by the Heat guard as they ran down the court trailing Hill's drive. West and Chalmers proceeded to exchange words, prompting Heat forward Udonis Haslem to double back and separate the two players, before going chest-to-chest and chin-to-chin with West himself. Eventually, referees, members of the Pacers coaching staff and other players intervened to break up the conversation.

When the dust settled, Chalmers, Haslem and West all received technical fouls.

"I was just protecting my point guard," Haslem said. "It was kind of a mismatch, Mario against David West. So when I saw the situation, I just tried to step in and protect Mario. Really after that, they gave out the technicals. To me the situation was over. Let's move on to the next play and let's continue to try to win this game."

Haslem, who finished with 16 points (on eight-for-nine shooting) and three rebounds in 26 minutes, has long been regarded as the Heat's enforcer.

"He's our heartbeat," Heat forward LeBron James said of Haslem. "Any time there's a confrontation, if he's on the floor, he goes to protect. We're not going to let anybody talk down on our point guard. [Chalmers] is one of the smallest guys on our team. [Haslem] was there to protect him."

Of course, the Heat do plenty of "talking down" to Chalmers, who is regularly subjected to frustration from his teammates, James included. Who could forget Chalmers getting chewed out by Chris Bosh during the Eastern Conference semifinals?

The three-technical exchange occurred at the 6:58 mark of the third quarter with Indiana leading 50-49. Miami went on to win 90-79 thanks to a monster third-quarter from James. The Heat now holds a 3-2 series lead over the Pacers with Game 6 is set for Saturday in Indianapolis.

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