AT&T CENTER – After LeBron James hit a jumper to stop a 17-4 Spurs run and bring the team within one point, he exited the game with cramps.
The Spurs then went on a 16-2 rally to close the game and exit a stifling Game 1 with a 110-95 win.
The Spurs hit four three-pointers in the last four minutes and Danny Green knocked down three shots beyond the arch to start chipping away at the Heat’s early fourth quarter lead.
“Honestly, the way he shoots the ball, I assume every time he shoots it it’s going to go in, so we want to get him as many shots as possible. He’s a confident, capable shooter,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said about Green.
The heat in the AT&T Center due to a failed air conditioning system seemed to be a big topic throughout the game, and eventually was what affected James enough to leave the game as the Spurs were making a run.
“I was going to try to give it a go, and (Heat coach Erik Spoelstra) said ‘No.’ You know, after I came out of the game, they kind of took off. And it was frustrating sitting out and not being able to help the team,” James said.
The Heat started the game on a 7-2 run, which was answered by the Spurs. When Manu Ginobili entered the first quarter with seven minutes remaining, he immediately made a difference, scoring nine – first quarter points all on three-pointers.
LeBron James scored just seven minutes in the first 17 minutes of the game after receiving some rest at the start of the second quarter. When he was re-inserted, James immediately rattled off six points in just over a minute to bring the Heat within two.
Tiago Splitter came up big from the end of the third quarter to the start of the fourth, scoring nine straight points for the Spurs.
While Spurs guard Tony Parker had a slow start, he added seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a run of five straight points after a Heat turnover to seal the game.
“We felt like they were getting tired,” Parker said. “LeBron was asking to be subbed. We were like let’s keep pushing, get some easy baskets. We made some stops at the end, and I think overall the pace was good for us.”
Tim Duncan lead the Spurs with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard was the only starter not to score in double figures with Splitter and Green chipping in 14 and 13. Manu Ginobili played 32 minutes off the bench, finishing with 16 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
James led the Heat with 25 points, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh added 19 and 18. Ray Allen matched Ginobili’s 16 points off the bench, but Allen uncharacteristically missed five of his eight three-point attempts.
The Spurs will be looking for a 2-0 series lead on Sunday night in what many hope will be a much cooler AT&T Center.