In a physical game where collisions rarely resulted in whistles and frustration often resulted in technical fouls, the Heat needed relief.

In a game where 40 percent of the Heat's starters were so ineffective — again — that they didn't even play a minute in the second half, the Big 3 needed assistance.

To close out a series that prepared the Heat for the Celtics better than anyone expected, the Heat needed a preview of who might be able to make a difference in the next round.

The answer to all of those calls was Mario Chalmers.

That's right. The love-him-one-game, hate-him-the-next-two point guard was on in Wednesday's Game 5. He came in firing when the Heat starters dug a double-figure hole in just four minutes, bringing the Heat back into the game. He loosened up a Sixers defense that had five guys with at least one foot in the paint just about the entire game. He scored 20 points — four more than LeBron James — for a much-maligned bench, a total that by itself bettered the previous high for total Heat bench points in this series (18).

Wednesday's Game 5 was supposed to be nothing more than an inconvenience — an extension of a series that should have ended in four.

A fifth game seemed to only offer an opportunity for the Heat to display its flaws once again, the way it did in Game 4, and that couldn't possibly help a team's confidence when it's about to face the big, bad, veteran bullies of Boston.

Turns out something positive did emerge. A much needed aspect, actually, for a team still trying to tinker with a lineup that apparently only works for a handful of games at a time.