SAN ANTONIO (CBSMiami) – A malfunctioning air conditioning system at the AT&T Center caused a rough night for everyone inside but the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs still managed to play a very exciting Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
With LeBron James suffering from severe cramps and unable to finish the game, the Spurs closed the game on a 31-9 run and took down the Heat 110-95.
James asked to come out of the game with 7:31 to go and received treatment on the Heat bench. When he came back in three minutes later, he immediately ran at full speed and converted a driving layup, but when he landed the crams intensified and James couldn’t move.
James left the game for good with 3:59 remaining and Miami down by two. The Heat would make just one more shot after that, getting outscored 16-3 down the stretch.
“It was an unusual environment,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “We’re used to having the hotter arena at this time of year but both teams had to deal with it. It was unfortunate.”
Several of the Spurs came up big despite the head inside the arena. Tim Duncan led the way with 21 points on nine of ten shooting and 10 rebounds. Manu Ginobili came off the bench and provided 16 points and 11 assists while Tony Parker added 19 points and eight assists of his own.
“I thought we played through it well,” said Duncan. “It definitely affected both teams. We were both worn out and tired … Cramps started to set in.”
Early on the adverse conditions didn’t affect either team as the Heat and Spurs started at a furious pace but as the game wore on the teams began complaining of the temperature on the court, which was exceeding 90 degrees by the fourth quarter.
“Yeah, it was probably tough on both teams,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Players were pretty dead.”
It didn’t take long for everyone in the arena to notice something was off. All anybody knew as the first half went by was that it was really hot and there was no end in sight. There was no official word from the arena until after halftime when a statement was released by Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
“An electrical failure for the power that runs the AC system in the AT&T Center has occurred. We are continuing to work on resolving the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
The Heat led the game by seven with just under ten minutes left when the Spurs began taking over. Duncan and Parker each scored from inside the paint to draw San Antonio closer before Danny Green began heating up.
Green hit back to back three-pointers to put the Spurs ahead by two, a lead they would never relinquish. He wasn’t done there, igniting the crowd with a fast break dunk and then hitting another triple on the very next possession.
“He’ll shoot anything,” Chris Bosh said of Green following the game. “He will shoot anything and that’s what makes him difficult to guard, especially with their spacing and passing.”
Bosh had a solid game for Miami, scoring 18 points while making seven of his 11 shots, including three of four from beyond the arc. He scored the first five points of the game for the Heat, who jumped out to a 7-2 lead.
LeBron James and the Heat will have two days to regroup and recover as Game 2 isn’t until Sunday night.
Hopefully the air conditioning is fixed by then.