Heat and Spurs looking for fresh start in Game 2

Jay Asser 16:08 07/06/2014
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Star man: Tim Duncan (c) was inspirational during the first game of the NBA Finals.

Going forward in the NBA Finals, playing conditions and turnovers should return to normal, leaving the opener of the series as an aberration.

The AT&T Center announced yesterday that the air conditioning issue from Game 1, caused by an electrical problem, has been repaired. 

The heat most affected LeBron James, who suffered leg cramps towards the end of Miami Heat’s 110-95 loss to San Antonio Spurs, forcing him to sit out the final stretch in what was a close contest.

“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” said James. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”

James exited with just under four minutes left to play in a two-point game. Following his departure, the Spurs outscored Miami 16-3, finishing the fourth quarter with a game-high 36 points.

The Spurs took advantage of his absence, but the four-time MVP has never suffered a serious injury or missed more than seven games in a regular season. With the AC fixed in AT&T Center in time for Game 2, James will have the chance to make more of an impact.

Turnovers are also likely to return to the mean after both teams combined for 38 lost possessions. Miami is second in the postseason among all 16 playoff teams in fewest turnovers, giving up the ball 11.4 times per game. 

The Spurs, meanwhile, rank sixth at 12.8, but it was San Antonio who struggled to hang on to possessions the most in the opener.

The Spurs committed 22 turnovers and the Heat, despite being the most dangerous team in the open court, finished with a modest 28 points off San Antonio’s mistakes and were outscored 20-19 in fast break points.

“We’ll have to play much, much better,” said shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who had just two turnovers to his 11 assists.

“They always come back, they always adjust, they have great players. Things happen, we ended up with a win that was sort of unlikely after 40 minutes,” he added.

“The turnovers are usually a killer,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “We feel very fortunate to have won this game.”

Miami will try to rebound in Game 2 (tip-off Monday morning 04:00) and continue their 12-game winning streak after suffering a playoff loss. San Antonio, however, have won 10-straight at home, starting in the first round.

With both teams harbouring lengthy streaks, something will have to give.

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