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Heat return to Chalmers as starting point guard

MIAMI (Reuters) - Third-year guard Mario Chalmers will replace veteran Carlos Arroyo as starting point guard for the Miami Heat, coach Erik Spoelstra said on Monday after he helped the team snap a four-game losing skid.

"It was a tough decision," Spoelstra, whose team featuring All-Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 31-13, told ESPN.

"It wasn't anything that Carlos was doing wrong. He was doing everything that I asked him to do. I think this is what's best for the team right now."

Chalmers, 24, scored 10 points and handed out nine assists in his second start of the season, a 120-103 win on Saturday against the visiting Toronto Raptors.

As a rookie, Chalmers started all 82 games for the Heat. An explosive talent who sometimes strays from the team concept on court, Chalmers shared the starting role last season with the 31-year-old Arroyo.

Arroyo, in his second season with the Heat, his sixth NBA team, was averaging 6.3 points and 2.2 assists this season

"It's been a steady battle and process with (Chalmers)," Spoelstra said. "He has great instincts to make plays defensively. I don't want to completely handcuff him, but he has to do it with an IQ and a discipline to our system."

The Heat travel to New York to play the Knicks on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

(Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)