Watch enough Heat games and one would think Mario Chalmers is the reason for LeBron James' quickly receding hairline.

A night on the court doesn't go by that James isn't barking at Chalmers for one perceived mistake or another. Thursday night at Madison Square Garden was no different. Chalmers missed an assignment early in Game 3 against the Knicks, and James laid into Chalmers like a big brother admonishing his younger sibling.

"I'm his big brother, and I can say whatever I want to say to him, and he has to take it," James joked Friday, a practice day for the Heat at Madison Square Garden. "It's called tough love."

And if James takes a break from dressing down Chalmers, it's only because Dwyane Wade or Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is berating the Heat's starting point guard. At times, it almost feels like Chalmers is the Heat's designated punching bag.

"He takes a lot," Wade said. "He takes it from his head coach, he takes it from me, he takes it from Bron, he takes it from everyone else."

What might seem like borderline verbal abuse is actually positive, constructive criticism, Wade said. Chalmers plays an important role for the Heat, and Wade said he and James are just trying to bring out the best in their teammate.

"I look at him sometimes, and I give him a hug," Wade said. "We give it to him. And it's only because we know how important he is to this team; we know how good he can be."

Chalmers was at his best Thursday. Despite James' badgering — or perhaps because of the badgering — Chalmers found his groove in the fourth quarter and made 3 of 4 shots from three-point range to help put the game away. The Heat, up 3-0 on New York in their best-of-7, first-round series, defeated the Knicks 87-70 in Game 3. Miami can sweep the series with a victory Sunday.

Chalmers finished with 19 points in Game 3, going 5 of 8 from three-point range and extending his double-figure scoring streak in the series. He has averaged 14.3 points this postseason after falling into a shooting slump during the second half of the regular season.