The first game of the 2014 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat was highly anticipated and millions of people around the world were ready for the rematch. Unfortunately, the electrical system at the AT&T Center in San Antonio didn’t feel like participating. Five minutes before tipoff, a circuit servicing the air conditioning unit blew and stopped cool air from circulating. This is what I call home court advantage to the extreme.
I noticed something was up during warmups by looking at the players’ faces. They were sweating without exerting any energy. Also, the fans were fanning themselves since the temperature was gradually rising. The first quarter between the two teams was outstanding with both shooting at a high percentage and ignoring the elements. Dwayne Wade had several slick moves showcasing his talents and Chris Bosh as knocking down jump shots with regularly. LeBron James was doing his regular facilitating and scoring. Ray Allen had an amazing coast-to-coast dunk which surprised everyone due to his age. The Spurs were matching the Heat’s effort and they led by 5 going into halftime. The air conditioning was still not fixed and it was announced that it wouldn’t be repaired until after the game. Fortunately, so far, no one had slipped or injured themselves but the players were becoming more exhausted and the substitution patterns more prevalent.
In the third quarter, Miami ramped up its defense and started imposing their will on the Spurs. San Antonio was turning over the ball at an alarming rate and Miami took advantage by scoring and taking the lead. Towards the end of the third quarter, though, LeBron James asked to be substituted due to the temperature and playing in these horrible conditions. Wade took the load and maintained the Heat’s advantage entering the fourth quarter.
With around 7 minutes left in the game, LeBron drove to the basked and scored giving the Heat a two-point lead. Upon landing, he immediately grabbed his left leg and couldn’t apply any pressure on it. He had to be carried off to the bench with cramping symptoms. Without their best player, the Heat lost the momentum and the Spurs started hitting three pointers from all over the place basically putting the game away.
A couple of takeaways from Game 1. The San Antonio Spurs organization should be embarrassed for not having a contingency plan for their air conditioning. This is not supposed to happen in an NBA Finals game. The conditions affected both teams but took out the Heat’s best player during the most important time of the game. The lack of AC pushed temperatures courtside to 90 degrees and in the building to 85 which is a safety concern not only for dehydration but possibly heat stroke. The game should’ve been postponed and resumed once everything was fixed. Anyway, hopefully lessons were learned and Game 2 will be played in cooler conditions.