Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals had it all—an inspiring comeback, star performances and even sweltering temperatures. Heading into Game 2, there's no shortage of questions heading into the second edition of the San Antonio Spurs versus the Miami Heat.
Will the Heat bounce back from a nightmarish finish in which they were outscored 31-9 down the stretch? Can the Spurs continue shooting lights out from deep and build off their dominating finish in Game 1? Will Miami knot up the series and regain home-court advantage, or will San Antonio take a commanding 2-0 lead?
Most importantly of all—will the air conditioning in AT&T Center even work?
Let's dive into everything you need for Game 2 of the NBA Finals and make some predictions.
When: Sunday, June 8 at 8 p.m. EDT
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Someone forgot to tell the basketball gods there could be six more games of this, because they seemed to cram every possible storyline into Game 1.
The Heat came out strong, but San Antonio found its stroke and was able to fight through a plethora of early turnovers to hold a slim halftime lead. Then, things got really wacky.
The air conditioning at AT&T Center went out, and heading into the second half, temperatures rose enough to significantly alter the game.
Both teams were seen tweaking their rotations to give their stars more rest, specifically LeBron James, who was calling himself out on numerous occasions. The Heat turned a two-point lead into a four-point deficit during James' longest fourth-quarter sit, and when he came back in and immediately scored a driving layup, he came up gimpy and left the game for good.
Miami made one more field goal for the rest of the game. The Spurs made six, only adding to their incredible shooting percentage in the closing frame as ESPN Stats and Info pointed out:
The Spurs went on to win convincingly with a final score of 110-95 that didn't quite reflect a game in which the Heat led by seven points just two minutes and change into the fourth quarter.
But there was one thing everyone was talking about after Game 1, and it wasn't the Spurs' offensive explosion at the end. Rather, it was the 90-plus-degree conditions that the players faced in the second half.
As Chris Bosh said per Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick, though, it was no excuse:
There's no telling how Game 1 would have shaken out with air conditioners intact, if James was on the court in the closing moments, if every player on both teams wasn't completely gassed down the stretch. But heading into Game 2, there should be somewhat of a return to normalcy.
Each team has plenty to work on before Sunday. As great as their finish was, the Spurs turned it over 22 times and were very sloppy on offense during stretches. The Heat left San Antonio shooters unmarked over and over in the second half, paving the way to their crushing defeat.
And most of all, all of these exhausted players will be relishing the two off days before a hopefully cooler Game 2.
Say what you will about what Michael Jordan would have done in Game 1, but James won't be coming out of a one-possession game in the closing minutes on Sunday so long as AT&T Center's air conditioning unit is replaced by then—that's a major advantage for Miami.
You can't expect the Spurs to shoot 14-of-16 in the fourth quarter again. You also can't expect the two-time defending champs to have to finish a game on the road without their four-time MVP again in this series.
After getting to the line just 11 times in Game 1, Miami will be cognizant of initiating contact and making its presence felt in Game 2. James, Dwyane Wade and company showed that when their defense is rolling, it can frustrate the Spurs and get their offense out of the groove—it's just a matter of bringing that same impact until the final whistle.
As long as the Heat build off the success they found through the first three quarters of Thursday's game and dodge any crazy unforeseen circumstances, they should be able to knot up the series at one game apiece.
Prediction: Heat 96, Spurs 92