Even the fans were not spared from the steamy conditions when an
electrical outage caused the air conditioning to fail at the AT&T
Center on Thursday.
James, the MVP of the finals the last two seasons, was forced from
the game in the fourth quarter with leg cramps with his Miami Heat
trailing by two. With the world's best player on the sidelines, the
San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 110-95 victory.
"I could tell at mid-court seven minutes left in the first quarter
that it was very, very warm," Rod Thorn, the NBA's president of
basketball operations, told reporters.
"The people sitting around me said they thought it was warmer
certainly than normal.
"Once the game starts, it's in the hands of the referees. I was
sitting the second row midcourt - were such that the game shouldn't
be continued, then they would have come over and said something to
"Never did, I never said anything to them regarding the fact that
the game should be canceled."
Temperatures reached near 32 degrees Celsius courtside. While the
players wilted, the 18,000 fans grabbed anything they could find to
HAPPY TO REST
"It was probably tough on both teams," Spurs head coach Gregg
Popovich said. "Players were pretty dead. So we tried to get guys in
and out a little bit more than we usually do.
"Kind of screws up the rhythm a little bit but it was mighty hot out
James was thankful for the two days' rest until Sunday's Game Two,
saying: "I need it, I need it, I need it."
When he left the game with the Heat trailing 94-92, James said "the
best option for me to do was not to move."
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"I tried and any little step or nudge, it would get worse," he said.
"It would lock up worse and my muscles spasmed 10 out of 10. Best
thing for me to do was just not to move, and, you know, it was
San Antonio's 14-time All-Star Tim Duncan, a native of the Virgin
Islands, said it was "pretty close" to being the most uncomfortable
he's ever been on a basketball court.
"I don't think I've ever played in anything like this since I left
the islands," he said. "It was pretty bad out there."
The NBA's Thorn said he feels "very strongly that the condition will
be taken care of, and we'll be able to play on Sunday without any
Perhaps the only player that didn't mind the heat was the Spurs'
Tony Parker, a Frenchman.
"Me personally it didn't bother me, felt like Europe," he said.
"Felt like I was playing in the European Championship. We never have
AC in Europe, so it didn't bother me at all."
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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