Monday, September 22, 2014

Spurs draw first blood in NBA finals

SAN ANTONIO—“Beat the Heat!” had a whole new meaning in a sweltering start to the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs handled the conditions and the team, and it sure helped when a suffering LeBron James couldn’t make it to the finish.

Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Heat 110-95 last night in Game 1 at steamy AT&T Center.
With an air-conditioning failure making it feel like a sauna and causing James to battle cramps that knocked him out of the decisive stretch, the Spurs pulled away to win the opener of the first Finals rematch since 1998.
“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James noted. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”
Manu Ginobili had 16 points and 11 assists while Tony Parker added 19 points and eight assists as the Spurs—6-for-6 in NBA Finals Game 1s—shot 59 percent.
“Just very proud of my team,” Parker said. “We kept believing, kept pushing.
“We know it’s not easy.”
They host Game 2 on Sunday—likely in cooler conditions.
James finished with 25 points but played only 33 minutes, and Miami was outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter.
“It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season,” James said.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points and Chris Bosh added 18, but the Heat wilted in temperatures that soared to 90 degrees F in the second half.
“It was tough on both teams,” said Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich.
“They were pretty dead,” he added. “We tried to get guys in and out. . . .
“It was really hot out there.”
James, who had cramping issues two years ago in the Finals, had to ask for a break in the fourth quarter and was getting treatment during a 15-4 Spurs’ run that turned around the game.
James came back in and made a basket that cut it to two points with about four minutes left, but couldn’t even run back on defence—promptly putting his hand up and lingering at the baseline until help arrived to take him off for good.
“I think it felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

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