The box score will tell one story, but not the entire story, for this crazy Finals Game 1. The final score was 110-95 for the Spurs, but they needed a 36-point fourth quarter to turn the game from a home loss into another blowout at AT&T Center. LeBron’s line read 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes of play, but all anyone will want to talk about this morning is how he couldn’t finish the game because of cramps. The air conditioning in the arena was not working for most of the game, and the entire second half, which led to LeBron’s hydration issues late in the game.
On a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter, his muscles cramped up and LeBron literally could not move. He had to be helped to the bench and didn’t return to the game as the Spurs went on a late run to put the game out of reach. The final fourth quarter numbers for San Antonio: 36 points, 14-for-16 from the field, six-for-six from downtown and just one turnover.
After letting the Heat take control in what was a sloppy third quarter that saw the Spurs turn the ball over nine times, the Spurs got a huge lift from Danny Green—who was quiet all game—in the fourth quarter, and effective minutes from Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili, who was magnificent in the first quarter, hitting his first three attempts from downtown.
Heat coach Erik Spolestra started Rashard Lewis in this one, but Pop refused to make an adjustment to comply with the small-ball lineup, instead sticking with the front court of Tim Duncan and Splitter throughout. Lewis had multiple open looks, which is why he is in there, to stretch the floor and add another perimeter threat (even if it’s more because of reputation at this point). He made four of ten shots, but was not an impact in this game.
LeBron is now 0-8 in his career in road Game 1′s. Despite all the chatter that will happen because of his cramps, the only takeaway from this game is that the Spurs held serve as the home team, and will now try to send Miami into a 2-0 deficit on Sunday. It’s still looking like a long series, with adjustments coming from both teams that will see different lineup variations matched up against one another throughout the series. And of course, in the last two Finals, the Heat have lost the first game, only to go on and win the title both times.
It was a strange Game 1, but at the end of the day, the Spurs are on the board, the Heat will try to steal home court advantage on Sunday. Nothing more than that. Now go and spend the next few days making fun of cramps, because the Internet, like the arena tonight, will definitely not chill.