Game 1 of the NBA Finals was an intriguing start to what should be an extremely exciting series. The San Antonio Spurs took Game 1 from the Miami Heat 110-95, outscoring them by 17 points after LeBron James missed most of the last 7 minutes of the game with cramps.
The biggest story line of the game was during the second quarter, the air conditioning at AT&T Center completely shut off, and would not be repaired for the entire game. By the third quarter the temperature inside the stadium got up to 88 degrees, and in the fourth quarter it rose to over 90 degrees.
When LeBron left the game, it really looked like he was barely able to keep himself conscious. Remember, he’s from Akron, Ohio. Where it’s very very cold. Which means he’s not adapt to very hot temperatures. He was filled with different fluids to get his hydration back up, and was even given an IV shot. “After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James said. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.” LeBron told the media that he was wanting to come back in the game, but Erik Spoelstra refused.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had 16 points and 11 assists, Tony Parker added 19 points and eight assists, and the Spurs shot 59 percent from the field and 13 of 25 from three point land.
“(I am) Just very proud of my team,” Parker said. “We kept believing, kept pushing. We know it’s not easy.”
While LeBron was getting treatment, the Spurs went on a 15-4 run to turn the tide in their favor. LeBron did return with about four minutes left, and made a basket that cut the lead to two. However, he couldn’t even run the floor and had to be taken back out for good.
“I think it felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Danny Green then preceded to make a three to cap a 16-3 run to end the game. The Spurs outscored Miami 36-17 in the fourth. Green, who scored 11 points in the fourth, had this to say about the heat, “You could see the heat was getting to a lot of guys. If I played as many minutes as he did, I’d probably be cramping up, too.”
A rematch was widely anticipated and was close almost throughout. The Heat led 86-79 after Bosh’s four-point play with 9:38 remaining in the game, but it was all San Antonio from there, and Wade said there were problems beyond James’ absence.
“Obviously, tonight we would’ve loved to have him in there to finish the game, but we’ve got to finish the game better,” Wade said.
The Spurs ended up extending their NBA-record streak to eight straight home playoff wins by 15 or more points. Their roster is filled with international players, such as Parker and Ginobili, who both said they were used to playing without air conditioning overseas.
Game 2 is Sunday in San Antonio, hopefully this will be in much cooler conditions than Thursday.
- Justin Hodges is a Staff Writer for ProSportsExtra.comÂ