Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

LeBron and 'Crampgate'

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — If the NBA Finals had resumed Friday, LeBron James could not have played.

There's no game until Sunday.

And James said he will be ready by then.

With his gait still affected by severe cramping and dehydration, and feeling the effects of a sleepless night brought on by several trips to the bathroom — an unavoidable drawback of having his body filled with fluids — James insisted he will play when the Heat and Spurs get together for Game 2.

"I'll be in uniform on Sunday," James said. "I should be 100 percent. Obviously I'm going to take it light (Friday). … (Today) I should be back on my feet full-go — and I got all day Sunday to get ready for Sunday night.

When he was there Thursday, the Heat was right there as well.

When he was done, so was the Heat.

Up by seven at one point in the fourth quarter, Miami fell apart in the final minutes and James' ugly departure could have easily had something to do with that. San Antonio's lead was 94-92 after James scored with 4:09 left; he was out of the game for good and unable to move 10 seconds later. From that point, the Spurs finished on a 16-3 run.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made no excuses Friday, simply saying the two-time defending champions needed to close the deal, James or no James.

"He's a competitor at the highest level," Spoelstra said. "So it was killing him being on that sideline, but you also have your health to look after. Look, 99.9 (percent) of people have never pushed their body to that level, at that level where you're past the point where your tank is empty and your body shuts down. For a competitor and for the best player in the game at this level to constantly push his body past that point, I think, is incredibly admirable."

"Crampgate", as Spoelstra called it, was still the hot topic of the Friday. Among developments:

• Spoelstra revealed James took seven anti-cramping pills during the game.

• The air conditioning was working again at AT&T Center and the league said a faulty breaker caused the breakdown. Arena events this weekend, including a Friday concert and Saturday WNBA game, were proceeding as scheduled.

• Commissioner Adam Silver said he spoke with James' agent Rich Paul and manager Maverick Carter to check in on the health of the four-time MVP. "They both assured me that he was all right," Silver said. "We all agreed that it was an unfortunate incident."

• James, on criticism he took for not playing: "What everybody has to say — you guys should know me by now — I don't care, I really don't. This is about the Spurs and the Heat, and it's not about everybody else. Man, I don't care."

Ratings: Game 1 drew an average TV audience of 14,846,000 viewers and a 9.0 national rating, Nielsen said. The average viewership on ABC was up 4 percent from last year's Game 1 between the same two teams. The rating was up 2 percent.

Jazz hired Snyder: Utah hired Hawks assistant Quin Snyder as its coach. He replaces Tyrone Corbin, who was fired earlier this year after three-plus seasons. Snyder, 47, completed his first season as an assistant in Atlanta. The former Duke guard also has been an assistant with the Lakers, 76ers and Clippers. He coached Missouri for seven seasons, from 1999 to 2006.

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