The flair for the dramatic was always there. Fearlessness under pressure was always one of his defining characteristics.

It's not like Mario Chalmers on Thursday night all of sudden grew into a great "finisher," that colloquial modifier NBA types use to qualify players whose job it is to win games in clutch situations. After all, Chalmers' big-shot potential as a collegian was one of the reasons why the Heat drafted him in the first place.

Sure, Chalmers made the clutch plays against the Atlanta Hawks in the triple-overtime victory. But it was something much more than that that made Heat coach Erik Spoelstra extol career-defining praise upon his point guard.

"Mario basically ran the show for us in the second half, and he grew up in front of our professional eyes [Thursday night]," Spoelstra said. "He was choreographing a lot of what we were doing offensively, making plays but also getting guys organized."

It was the way Chalmers settled the offense, the way he made an impact on both ends of the court and the way he took ownership of the game with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James on the bench that made Spoelstra notice. Chalmers led the Heat in the three overtime periods with 13 points and finished with 29 points, three three-pointers, seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block.