James leaves late with cramps
The air conditioning system malfunctioned, turning the arena into a sauna. But the San Antonio Spurs kept their cool, overcame the Heat and won the opener of the NBA Finals.
Danny Green dropped in 11 of his 13 points in a 31-9 closing run that helped the Spurs dig in and shoot past the Miami Heat for a steamy 110-95 victory on Thursday.
“That’s what he does, that’s his major skill,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his forward. “We stuck with him out there and he came through.”
With temperatures soaring to as high as 32.2 degrees Celsius on court at the AT&T Center, Miami’s LeBron James suffered leg cramps and was forced to leave the game with 3 minutes, 59 seconds left to play in the first Finals rematch since 1998.
According to a statement from the Spurs, “an electrical failure for the power that runs the AC system in the AT&T Center” occurred, causing the extreme heat.
Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Frenchman Tony Parker netted 19, while Argentine Manu Ginobili contributed 16 with 11 assists for the Spurs, who overcame 22 turnovers leading to 28 Heat points.
“We took care of the ball, finally,” Duncan said. “We found something on the offence end and Danny Green got hot. He hit a couple of shots and opened it up for us.”
James scored 25 points, Dwyane Wade had 19 while Chris Bosh contributed 18 for the two-time defending NBA champs, who were outscored 36-17 in the final quarter.
“You don’t want to see your leader come out during winning time.” Wade said of James. “We would have loved to have him to finish the game. But we have to finish the game better.”