Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Spurs beat Heat in Game 1 of NBA Finals

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Heat was the story in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Not the Miami Heat so much as literal heat.

With temperatures measured in the high 80s inside the arena because of an air-conditioning failure, Game 1 between Miami and the Spurs was a sweltering struggle. It caused Heat star LeBron James to battle cramps that knocked him out of the game's decisive stretch in the fourth quarter as the Spurs pulled away to win 110-95.

An electrical failure for the power that runs the air-conditioning system in the AT&T Center had courtside temperatures hitting 89 degrees. James was clearly laboring in the second half.

"They're trying to smoke us out of here," he told teammates during one stoppage in play.

With 3:59 left in the game, James limped off the court to the bench with cramping in his left leg after making a layup that pulled the Heat within 94-92. He never returned to the game, and the Spurs outscored Miami 36-17 in the quarter.

James finished with 25 points in 33 minutes.

Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 59 percent and improved to 6-for-6 in NBA Finals Game 1s.

Manu Ginobili had 16 points and 11 assists, and Tony Parker added 19 points as San Antonio overcame an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers, a number that highly annoyed coach Gregg Popovich.

Duncan made his first six shots and scored 15 points to help the Spurs take a 54-49 lead after an entertaining first half.

Duncan said the heat was a significant factor in the game.

"I don't know what happened to LeBron, but I think all of us were feeling the heat," Duncan said. "We were all dehydrated."

Ginobili had 11 points and Parker 10 as San Antonio's veteran Big Three got the Spurs off to a strong start in their attempt to avenge last year's heartbreaking, seven-game loss.

James scored 13 and Dwyane Wade 12 for the two-time defending champions before the half.

San Antonio shot 50 percent in the half and Miami hit more than half its shots for most of the first two quarters, which featured seven lead changes and four ties.

The Heat stuck with its small lineup featuring Rashard Lewis at forward, but San Antonio went back to being big by reinserting Tiago Splitter into the first five.

Chris Bosh, scoreless in Game 7 last year, scored Miami's first five points in the Heat's 7-2 start. But Ginobili came off the bench firing, making consecutive 3s for an 18-13 lead.

Wade and James combined for six straight points before Ginobili made another 3, and Patty Mills added one to close the first-quarter scoring and give the Spurs a 26-20 advantage.

An 8-0 Miami run in the second was quickly countered by six straight from the Spurs, who held the Heat without a basket for the final 21/2 minutes.

Spurs 110, Heat 95

MIAMI (95): L.James 9-17 5-6 25, Lewis 4-10 0-0 10, Bosh 7-11 1-1 18, Chalmers 1-3 0-0 3, Wade 8-18 2-2 19, Allen 6-12 1-2 16, Andersen 1-2 0-0 2, Cole 1-4 0-0 2, Battier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 37-78 9-11 95.

SAN ANTONIO (110): Leonard 3-5 1-2 9, Duncan 9-10 3-4 21, Splitter 5-6 4-5 14, Parker 8-15 1-2 19, Green 4-9 2-2 13, Ginobili 5-10 3-3 16, Diaw 1-5 0-0 2, Mills 3-5 0-0 7, Belinelli 2-3 3-4 9. Totals 40-68 17-22 110.

Miami 20 29 29 17— 95

San Antonio 26 28 20 36— 110

3-Point GoalsMiami 12-29 (Bosh 3-4, Allen 3-8, L.James 2-3, Lewis 2-6, Chalmers 1-1, Wade 1-3, Battier 0-1, Cole 0-3), San Antonio 13-25 (Ginobili 3-6, Green 3-7, Parker 2-2, Leonard 2-3, Belinelli 2-3, Mills 1-3, Diaw 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 31 (Bosh 9), San Antonio 45 (Duncan, Diaw 10). AssistsMiami 16 (Cole 5), San Antonio 30 (Ginobili 11). Total FoulsMiami 21, San Antonio 14. A18,581 (18,797).

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