Who knew that a broken air conditioner would create a home court advantage?
In a rematch of the 2013 finals, the Spurs wanted to come out and make a statement. While that statement was “We forgot to pay our utility bill,” they also literally beat the Heat 110-95, to take a 1-0 lead in the Finals.
The Spurs coughed up the ball 22 times, but made up for it in rebounds, 39-29. Most of the game was nip and tuck with the teams staying within single digits of each other. While the Spurs held a five point lead at half-time, they saw their lead evaporate in the third quarter. Late in that quarter it looked like the Heat were putting the nails in the Spurs’ coffin (that may or may not be a joke about Tim Duncan’s age) when the other 38 year old on the court did this:
But in the fourth quarter LeBron fell victim to the 90 degree temperatures at courtside and succumbed to leg cramps. That opened the door for the Spurs to complete a 31-9 run and pull away.
So as good as the Spurs played, the talk will really be about LeBron’s, uh, troubles.
Being an oldie myself, I take a lot of flack from the younglings when I say Michael Jordan was better than LeBron, but today is a point for my side. Look, Jordan was the perfect storm of talent and drive, and he would win at any cost. Cramps? Are you kidding me? He would have pulled a Willis Reed and hobbled up and down the floor until his legs fell off. And then, he would use that dismembered limb to set his own pick and roll.
King, you are one of the best to play this game, but you’ll neither Three-peat nor retain your crown if you can’t answer the bell in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Spurs are likely taking their time fixing the air conditioning.
Dave Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and is now the Thursday night guy for SportsGrid. Follow him on Twitter at @turkeysflying.