James, Heat try to even NBA Finals against Spurs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The NBA Finals will resume Sunday night in a presumably much more comfortable AT&T Center when the San Antonio Spurs welcome the Miami Heat.
The Spurs grabbed a 1-0 series lead Thursday night in the sweltering heat of a late spring San Antonio night. Of course, it didn't help that the AT&T Center's air conditioner malfunctioned and didn't work through the course of the game.
As temperatures soared into the mid-90s, the Spurs emerged with a 110-95 victory, but the busted AC unit played a major role.
LeBron James was forced to leave the game midway through the fourth quarter due to cramping. James has faced cramping issues in the past and the four-time MVP was unable to move Thursday following a layup to get the game within two.
"My body just shut down, basically my body said, okay, enough jumping for you for the night. You've had enough," James said after practice on Friday. "Nothing I could do about it."
That didn't stop social media from exploding, questioning James' toughness.
"I really don't care what people say about me," noted James.
The two-time Finals MVP, the Heat, the Spurs and frankly anyone in attendance Sunday night should feel relieved. The AT&T Center staff fixed the problem and it should be very comfortable for Game 2.
"It will be fine. We've been assured of that," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
The extreme conditions played a role in Game 1, but were the same for both squads. When James had to be carried back to the bench, the Spurs finished the game on a 31-9 run with six minutes to go.
Danny Green, who set an NBA Finals record with 27 made 3-pointers last year, caught fire late in Game 1. He drained three long balls during the decisive run and finished with 13 points.
Tim Duncan contributed 21 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Parker poured in 19 points and handed out eight assists, and Manu Ginobili totaled 16 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who shot a scorching 14-of-16 from the floor in the fourth, including a perfect 6-of-6 mark from long distance.
Tiago Splitter added 14 points and Boris Diaw pulled down 10 rebounds.
The Spurs shot 59 percent for the game and 52 percent from long range.
"We're not as good as we used to be defensively. So if that's going to diminish, you need to do something at the other end of the floor to make up for it," explained coach Gregg Popovich. "We changed our pace, and the way we approach things at the other end of the floor to make up for what we're going to lose defensively. That's the bottom line."
James paced the Heat with 25 points and six assists, while Wade and Bosh supplied 19 and 18 points, respectively, in the setback.
"We have to finish the game better, no matter who is on the floor," Wade said, referring to the absence of James.
Ray Allen provided a spark off the bench with 16 points, while another veteran, Rashard Lewis, scored 10.
The Heat have won 12 straight following a loss in the postseason and there's no reason to panic. Miami lost the first game in each of the last two Finals and went on to win the series.
The series shifts to South Beach for Game 3 Tuesday night.
06/08 09:00:42 ET