Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs came down to the heat. “Beat the Heat” is literally what the Spurs did in a 110-95 victory over the Heat. The air conditioning stopped working inside the AT&T Center and it undoubtedly had an impact on the Heat’s LeBron James. After a made layup late in the fourth quarter, James sat out the remainder of the games with cramps and it coincided with a Spurs run that put this game out of hand.
“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James said. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not being able to help our team.”
Temperature rose to 90 degrees in the second half. Tim Duncan kept his cool. Duncan led the Spurs with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Duncan, 38 years of age, is the oldest player to lead his team in scoring in a Finals win since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did so on June 14, 1987 at age 40. “It was tough on both teams,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out. … It was really hot out there.” The Spurs shot 66.7 percent (12-of-18) on catch-and-shoot jump shots in Game 1, tied for their best this postseason.
LeBron James joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players with at least 4,000 career points and 1,000 career assists in NBA postseason history. Nobody has reached those numbers in fewer games than LeBron — he joined the club in 18 fewer games than Jordan and 57 fewer games than Kobe. The Heat were outscored by 15 points while LeBron was on the bench in Game 1, easily the most in any playoff loss since James joined the team before the 2010-11 season.
Late in the game, the crowd chanted, “Beat the Heat! Beat the Heat!” I could not help but find tremendous humor in it, which was what the fans themselves were trying to do, even with arena attendants using motorized fans to cool down those in attendance. The Spurs said an electrical failure for the power that runs the air-conditioning system had occurred. They apologized for the inconvenience.
The Spurs ended the game on a 31-9 run. The Heat are the first team since the Boston Celtics of 1984-87 to get to four straight Finals. Moreover there have been 12 repeat Finals matchups in NBA history. The Heat look forward to Game 2 of the series. The Heat have won 12 consecutive playoff games following a loss. The last time they lost back-to-back games was in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (lost 3 straight vs Celtics)