The Spurs needed 90 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and the aid of a machine to beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat 110-95 Thursday night in San Antonio.
The Heat took control of Game 1 in the third quarter of the NBA Finals matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. Miami's blitzkrieg defense forced the Spurs to turn the ball over at a back-breaking clip, and the Heat offense attacked fast and furious off those turnovers.
Chris Bosh was hitting threes, as was Rashard Lewis.
Dwyane Wade was doing damage with his penetrating offense.
Ray Allen was dunking on people!
And LeBron James was on his way to another brilliant Finals performance.
And then, thanks mostly to San Antonio's AT&T Center apparently having the same electronic wiring and integrity as the Alamo, everything collapsed for the Heat.
The AT&T Center air-conditioning broke. Temperatures on the court reached over 100 degrees at one point. And LeBron James was seized with debilitating muscle cramps, forcing him out of the game and leaving Miami's underlings to fend for themselves against the Spurs' onslaught.
With just seven minutes remaining in the game, the Heat seemed to be managing its way to a Game 1 steal until the temperature started to take its toll on players.
As the game went on, the sweltering heat and the broken air conditioner inside the $186 milliion AT&T Center suddenly became the story of this NBA Finals.
Not Tony Parker's sudden miraculous recovery from a bad ankle.
Not Danny Green hitting 9,374 threes.
Not Manu Ginobili's bald spot scoring 15.
Not LeBron James lighting Kwahi Leonard on fire.
Not even Mario Chalmers outdoing himself in the Suck department.
The broken air conditioning. In a billion-dollar sports arena in the year 2014. That became the story.
The good news is that our laserjet is firing on all cylinders pic.twitter.com/nuZ5EY38Ca
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) June 6, 2014
When the cramps took over LeBron's leg and he was forced out of the game, the Spurs took advantage, swallowing the Heat up in a 27-1 run that eventually gave them Game 1.
And as the Spurs cruised to the victory, social media started to get stupid again -- as it is wont to do anytime LeBron James is saddled with some kind of failure, even when that failure is literally out of his control. When that failure is his six-foot-nine, 270-pound body betraying him because his otherworldly sized muscles involuntarily contract, clamp up, and cease to work while searing pain takes over, all because he's been running around at a full clip for 30 minutes in 90-degree temperatures.
As presently constructed, the Miami Heat's swarming defense relies on quick movements, crashing in on the ball, forcing turnovers or bad shots, and then converting it all into a fast-break offense. The Heat's game plan is constant movement. Always running. Always moving.
Kind of hard to do when you're sweating your entire balls off.
That plan has helped the Heat go to four straight NBA Finals and win back-to-back titles.
That plan ceases to work when the players are reduced to sacks of meat in drenched uniforms.
The sad part was, this game was turning into another Heat-Spurs classic. Yes, the Heat was in control, but you knew the Spurs would look to respond. The only thing remaining to see was which San Antonio player was going to start lighting it up and how was LeBron going to respond.
All night long, both teams made runs. Baskets were traded, turnovers were forced on both ends, three-pointers were dropping. The Spurs landed a haymaker, the Heat an upper cut.
We were in for an epic final few minutes of the first game of the series when the air conditioner made a work of basketball art into a sweaty, cramp-inducing slop fest.
In the end, the AT&T Center air conditioner went on a 39-1 run to seal Game 1 for the Spurs, thanks to its taking out LeBron from the game and leaving Miami without its MVP.
Meanwhile, Spurs fans chanted "Beat the Heat!" because they don't understand irony in Texas, evidently.
And America inevitably rejoiced over this. And made its usual ridiculous comparisons to Michael Jordan, because Michael Jordan cured cancer while going for 4,000 with one leg after a shark bit it off in the 1997 Finals.
— Felicia Obregon (@felicia_AOII22) June 6, 2014
We're not medical doctors, but we're fairly certain the flu is not the same thing as muscle cramps. Nor is a torn Achilles.
Muscle cramps -- real muscle cramps, not the ones you get in your sleep because you forgot to drink water before bed -- are debilitating and horrendously painful. Your muscles literally stop working because all they're doing is tightening up with every movement.
The onslaught of stupid from Twitter and the internet over LeBron's supposed lack of toughness is mind-numbing.
LeBron wanted back into the game. Coach Erik Spoelstra refused to put him back in.
Even when he did go back in the game, LeBron managed to thrust past the San Antonio defense for a layup -- which resulted in more cramps.
LeBron was despondent and frustrated when he couldn't go back into the game. It was all over his face.
But the irrationality of the masses, fueled by the likes of Skip Bayless, will do what they do, say what they say, and think what they think. Regardless of actual facts and reality.
This is the world we live in. A world where having an ass for a brain is celebrated.
Also, a world where in America, a billion-dollar sports arena's A/C breaks down.
Ah, but... here's the good news in all this:
Dwyane Wade looked pretty fantastic, as did Chris Bosh, excepting a few sloppy moments.
The Spurs went on a monumental tear in the fourth quarter as soon as LeBron checked out and hit 89 percent of their shots. That won't happen again. And LeBron won't be forced out of a game like this again.
And then there's this: The Heat's Big Three are 5-0 when they lose the first game of a series, including the last two Finals.
Get all three on the court at the same time, healthy, in the proper conditions, and we'll see who has the better team.
This was just one game. One stupid, ridiculous ass of a game.
But Sunday night looms.
Now fix your goddamned air conditioner, Spurs.
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