Right & Wrong: Heat gets best of LeBron

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

VIDEO: Through the Lens: A slo-mo look at Game 1

SAN ANTONIO — The big story from Thursday night’s Game 1 of The NBA Finals was the electrical issue that knocked out the AT&T Center’s air-conditioning and, eventually, the Miami Heat’s superstar.

LeBron James asked out of the game a few times when he never would have under normal conditions. When he asked out in the middle of the third, it was clear his body was not reacting well to temperatures rising into the upper 80s, combined with stifling humidity.

Finally, with 3:59 to go in the game, after making a layup that cut the Spurs’ lead to 94-92, James’ left leg cramped up. He left the game and was unable to return. San Antonio blitzed Miami from there to take a 1-0 series lead.

Both teams have until Sunday night to catch their breaths and rehydrate.

A look at what went wrong and what went right in Game 1:

Wrong: The Heat’s training staff is going to have to take a look at why James couldn’t stay hydrated. The conditions were awful, but he was the only player to suffer such a fate. Without their best player, the Heat got run over in the end. He played only 32 minutes, 53 seconds — 16 seconds fewer than 38-year-old Tim Duncan.

Even Gatorade took a swipe at James on Twitter:


Right: What a night for the ageless, ever-fundamental Spurs star Duncan. He outlasted the heat and the Heat for 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting and 10 rebounds. Everything came in the lane and mostly at the rim. If Chris Bosh is going to be unable to contain Duncan — and quite frankly, why shouldn’t he be able to check the old man? — then this could be a monstrous series for Duncan. If Chris “Birdman” Andersen is not going to start, or play fewer than 18 minutes (as he did in Game 1), who is going to guard Duncan?

Wrong: The Heat have to get something out of point guard Mario Chalmers. He wanted to put Tony Parker‘s ailing left ankle to the test early, but he continually got burned. He was so bad that coach Erik Spoelstra mostly planted him on the bench. Chalmers played 17 minutes, committed five fouls and registered just three points, one assist and five turnovers. Reserve Norris Cole got 29 minutes but wasn’t much better offensively, with just two points and five assists.

Right: This series is being hailed as a redemption tour for the Spurs. It’s also a personal redemption tour for Manu Ginobili, who continues to have an outstanding postseason at age 36. He subbed into  Thursday’s opener five minutes into the first quarter and quickly buried three 3-pointers as part of his memorable 16-point, 11-assist, 5-rebound effort in 32 minutes — eight minutes above his season average.

Wrong: Dwyane Wade‘s defense, especially late in the game, did not match his offense, which was especially good early. He was caught flat-footed on several occasions, once late in the game when Ginobili drove right past him for an uncontested layup. Wade was probably gassed by the fourth quarter as well, but that was not Heat defense (though Miami did force 23 Spurs turnovers).

Right: Popovich said after the game that if Danny Green is not hitting 3-point shots then there’s little reason to play him. Well, he was 0-for-4 from deep and 0-for-5 overall entering the fourth quarter. But Popovich also said the percentages would fall back in line, so he stuck with his shooting specialist. It paid off. Green scored 11 of his 13 points, including hitting three 3-pointers, during a bang-bang run midway through the fourth quarter that proved to be decisive.

Right and Wrong: The Spurs were at there precision-passing best with 30 assists on 40 baskets, just a ridiculous ratio. If they keep that up, the Heat won’t be able to keep up and the Spurs will score 110 every game. On the other side of that, the Spurs tried to force a lot of the action and paid for it. Go back to Game 2 of the first round against Dallas, and the Spurs — on their home floor mind you — threw the ball all over the place for 24 turnovers. They lost that game badly. In Game 1 against the Heat, they turned it over 23 times, leading to 28 Heat points.  Teams don’t often win turning it over 20-plus times, but it helped that the Heat committed 18 turnovers of their own that went for 27 points the other way.


  1. kobeballhog says:

    First snake in the portlands locker room now its no air conditioning whats next? Lol thats for you spurs bandwaoners. You guys just talk nonsense. The heat never blamed the loss for the extreme conditions. That affected both sides. Now if you guys even touch a ball or play basketball having cramps while playing will shut down your whole body. Its like getting a serious injury when your calves gone up during cramps i dare you try playing through it if you can. Such ignorant bandwagoners. Additinally this is the nba the basketball gods of the world, there is no excuse to have technican problems like air conditioning, it resulted to being the laughing stock of the world. This is the nba finals and they playing in the streets. Shame on the spurs maintenance team.

  2. Max says:

    Question? Since the Spurs knew before the game, that there was problems with the A/C being broke, is it possible that at half time the Spurs received additional Hydration from an IV in their locker room? Odd that they were able to play the 3rd & 4th qtr. much better than the visiting Heat, who had NO IDEA about the broken A/C. Find that situation a little ODD. Plus Pop knew that LeBron had Heat issues in the Finals in 2012. Would POP take advantage of that? YOU BET. POP has never shown any Morals and never let any stand between him and winning. Is POP Great as a Coach, or just knows how to take advantage of another team at any cost. Lot to think about. Do not forget 2006 in SAT. Conference Finals against the PHX Suns!!
    All Spurs keep mouth closed to the Media. A very closed mouth Clan. Else a Player is shipped. Ask George Hill. Maybe Nash was right when he called (he was just kidding, wasn’t he?) He called Pop a “Russian Spy”!!!!!WOW!!!““`~

  3. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    First off, Heat fan boys make it like the spurs played in another arena. Second, Anyone here experience cramps due to dehydration? I got a wonderful experience when I played in Indonesia during a trip at summer time. It was horrible and I NEVER want to experience again.

  4. you want the heat?...you can't handle the HEAT !! says:

    Funny how someone who lives in one of the warmest cities in the US, plays for a team called the HEAT, and is supposedly one of the most supreme athletes on the planet can’t handle the HEAT. While, 38 year old Duncan, 36 yo Manu, 31 yo Parker; 36 yo allen, etc didnt break down. Ironic

  5. tru gee says:

    kings sweat too. he is not superman….

  6. Nba fan 123 says:

    I play in brazil with temperatures above 90 no AC in most of the arenas and we dont cramp or have heat strokes thats just excusses


    That’s what happens when we don’t have AIR Jordan and A/C Green on the court. :-))

  8. cold eye killer says:

    Don’t wear all the padding and under armor. Sweat evaporating off of your skin is the best way to stay cool.

  9. ROB PERRELLA says:


  10. NeenahFromBrooklyn says:

    Cramping………really though Lebron? He just wasn’t ready for what the Spurs was bringing in Game !. Nooooo he wasn’t ready (Kevin Hart voice)

  11. okcDoke2014 says:

    Non-performancing drugs ?

  12. Javier says:

    Its wired what James is saying that all his left side of the body colapce or cramp. I could understand 1 part of the body or a muscle but a hole side?

  13. THop says:

    Did nobody else notice Lebron grabbing at his kidney’s earlier in the game? Perhaps his fatigue and cramping is actually an alert to a deeper kidney failure.

  14. Ribeye3 says:

    The SPURS COACHING STAFF new the AC was not going to be working, they may have even created the problem. Got their players ready, HYDRATED TO THE MAX, CREATED THE GAME PLAN FOR THEIR PLAYERS TO OVERCOME, and won the game. Just like when Michael Jordan went to Utah and they poisoned his food and made him sick because they wanted to win so bad. Michael and his team overcame and won the championship. LeBron and his teammates will do the same.

    • TPfan says:

      really?!? thats your excuse? wow are you in drugs??? ask yourself why lebron is the only one that affected so much? maybe he use some of illegal enhancement drugs that have severe side effects if its exposed in hot conditions…so???

  15. cp10 says:

    Right: Dwayne Wade’s play! Whoah!
    Wrong: Heat missed about 5 shots in a row in the first half

  16. DrifterWS19 says:

    every1 else on the court (doin the same thing) was ok throughout the whole game. James was the only 1 who had trouble so if ur saying they never should have played that game bc it might cause health problems then ur stupid lol

  17. Kimmy says:

    I actually thought it was scary. LeBron didn’t look well. Not sure if it was the Heat or his cramping. No pun intended.

  18. European says:

    Maybe the steroids he is using (that are not allowed anywhere else in the world, only in USA just to make the athletes look like monsters) did not reach well to the heat? Maybe he got poisoned by the steroids?!

  19. MikeH says:

    I think the NBA put players from both teams at risk of Heat Stroke in Game 1. The pace of the game was intense up and down the court in 90 degree temperatures.

    Heat Stroke: Symptoms Per: WebMD
    Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, IT ALSO TAKES A TOLL ON HEALTHY YOUNG ATHLETES.
    Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury.
    Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures — usually in combination with dehydration — which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system.

    Rod Thorn needs to educate himself beyond his “personal experience” from decades ago. This is not a question of toughness or experience. All players ran very high risks in Game 1 for no real reason. A athlete should not have to risk his life to participate in a “live sporting event”. Heat Stroke is not a joke.

  20. bart smith says:

    May be I am wrong, but I’ve a lots of cramps playing amateur sport. What LeBron suffer did not look cramp at all! I am guessing it must be something else that he and the Heat are telling us.

    • Game Time says:

      Severe case. I’ve had my calves lock up on me to the point that I couldn’t move my leg(s). Same issue I had was because of extreme heat (playing outside) and lack of proper hydration. I was actually drinking Gatorade.