The heat was too much to handle for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
With the air conditioning not working and temperatures reaching over 90 degrees at AT&T Center, James was forced to the bench with leg cramps for all but one possession in the final 7:31 of the game. By the time the final buzzer sounded, James was already in the locker room.
During that time, the Spurs turned a 2-point deficit into a 110-95 game 1 win. This is the 6th time in the Big 3 Era that the Heat have lost game 1 of a playoff series. In each of the previous 5 times, Miami bounced back to win.
The Spurs improve to 10-1 at home this post-season, and have now won 8 straight home playoff games by at least 15 points. Game 2 is set for Sunday night at 8pm from San Antonio.
The Spurs came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. Led by Manu Ginobili who had 9 first quarter points, San Antonio led by 6 after one.
Miami began coming together in the 2nd, but the Spurs finished the half strong to lead by 5 at the break. Tim Duncan was huge in the first half scoring 15 points on 6/7 from the field.
The third quarter was a flat-out disaster for San Antonio. The Spurs turned the ball over 9 times, and the Heat turned a 9-point deficit into a 6-point lead. Miami led by 4 entering the 4th.
Along with LeBron being unable to play through the heat, Danny Green coming alive in the 4th played just as big a role as the Spurs winning this game. Green had just 2 points on 0/4 shooting as the quarter began.
During a 2:18 stretch in the 4th though, Green hit all 4 of his shots, including 3 three’s as the Spurs went from trailing by 4 to leading by 5. Green finished the game with 13 points. When all was set and done, San Antonio outscored Miami 36-17 in the 4th to pull away.
For the Spurs, Tim Duncan led the way with 21 points on 9/10 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, Tony Parker added 19 points and 8 assists, and Manu Giniboli had 16 points off the bench.
Tiago Splitter scored 9 straight for San Antonio at one point, and finished the game with 14. Marco Belinelli had 9 points on 2/3 from deep. As a team, the Spurs shot 13/25 (52%) from 3.
Boris Diaw scored just 2 points for San Antonio, but he had a game best (+30). Diaw chipped in with 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Even though he missed the majority of the 4th, LeBron still led Miami with 25 points, Dwyane Wade had 19, and Chris Bosh added 18 points. Ray Allen scored 16 points off the bench, and Rashard Lewis had 10 points. Allen turned back the clock and threw down an emphatic dunk in the 3rd quarter.
The Heat were unable to overcome 23 Spurs turnovers which resulted in 28 points. Going forward in this series, San Antonio isn’t likely to get away with such careless play again especially considering the fact LeBron will be on the floor in crunch time.