Let’s just get it out of the way: I know that the air conditioning system broke down in the AT&T arena and the closer you got to the court, the closer the temperature crept to 90 degrees, but LeBron James cramps way to much for a superstar of his caliber. And it only seems to happen when the Miami Heat hit crunch time.
No, I’m not pulling a Skip Bayless and suggesting that he tries to find a ways to escape the height of the game. What I am suggesting is that James needs to find the trick to keeping himself hydrated, because both teams suffered from the same heat and used the same ice packs to loosen up. Not even a 38-year-old Tim Duncan had to be carried to the bench by teammates — again.
The first time this happened to James was in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals, when he was praised for limping his way into a dagger three. Then it happened during Game 3 of last month’s Eastern Conference Finals, and now this. He will probably have cramps again, but he’s not the sole reason why the Heat lost.
Miami’s point guards were no-shows. Ray Allen dunked his way into a “He Got Game” flashback, but he and Rashard Lewis bricked open three after open three and throughout points of the game, their defense needed someone to put out an APB — and that was before the cramps or the faulty A/C. At times, they seemed like they were stuck in mud as the San Antonio Spurs’ ball movement was too fast for their rotation.
Yes, Tony Parker and the crew had 22 turnovers, but a lot of those were unforced. By the time it got to the fourth quarter, Miami’s lazy defensive tendencies made it look like they were already poised to blame the humidity for being down 0-1. They showed no championship heart without James on the court, and even managed to leave Danny Green open to drop 11 of his 13 points during closing time.
Miami blew a chance, yet things could be worse. He could have been cramping in front of the television like all of the New York Knicks players since 1999. Now the Heat have two days to stress over trying to bounce back.