The NBA Finals have rarely seen Game 1's like the one held in San Antonio on June 5. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat already made this one of the most anticipated NBA Finals of all time, thanks to last year's seven-game showdown. But for all the Spurs and Heat did together last year, it didn't match the chaos of how their rematch started, as the Spurs' 110-95 victory was among the least buzzed about elements of the night.
Game 1 went down in infamy because the air conditioning at the AT&T Center went down itself. By the end of the night, the Spurs and Heat contended with 90 degree temperatures on the court. Given that LeBron James then sat out much of the last half of the fourth quarter due to cramps -- a stretch where the Spurs turned a seven-point deficit into a 15-point win in the blink of an eye -- the Heat had much less impact on Game 1 than the actual heat.
If not for that late surge, the Spurs would have started the NBA Finals with the most embarrassing kind of loss. Although San Antonio shot almost 59 percent from the floor, hit 13 three-pointers and had a decided advantage from its bench, Miami still could have stolen a victory. 23 Spurs turnovers helped keep the Heat alive, as did the lack of offensive production from Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard.
Yet when James left in the fourth quarter, Green came to life, putting the Spurs ahead for good with two threes -- his first field goals of the night. Diaw and Leonard each hit key shots as well, while Manu Ginobili capped an 11-assist performance, Tim Duncan finished 9-for-10 from the field and Tony Parker overcame his ankle troubles from last week with 19 points.
All told, the Spurs finished Game 1 by going 14-for-16 in the fourth quarter, with a 36-17 advantage in the period and a 31-9 run to cap it off. But as per custom for San Antonio, its excellence was overshadowed, due to the conditions and how James succumbed to them.
The NBA Finals should have at least three more games where the air conditioning works and James can play at least 40-45 minutes. If the Spurs win three more games in spite of that, then most of the buzz might shift to them.