Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs were able to beat the heat and win Game 1 with an impressive fourth-quarter comeback. Even though it was as exciting as a game could possibly be, both the Spurs and the Miami Heat had their fair share of disappointments.
Danny Green's Performance for the First Three Quarters
It is, without a doubt, true that Danny Green is one of the only young offensive threats on the Spurs, but Thursday night, he struggled to make an impact.
Many people will remember Green's impressive fourth-quarter performance when he scored 11 points on four-of-four shooting. But for the first three quarters of the game, he was absent, going 0-of-5 from the field. His early struggles allowed the Heat to stay in the game, and, at one point, grab a commanding seven-point lead .
Right now Danny Green is making me crazy.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 6, 2014
It was only when LeBron James left the game with an injury that Green was able to finally step up. This is a bad sign for the Spurs because if LeBron can avoid injuries for the rest of the series, then Green will be a non-factor.
Without Green contributing, it'll be tough for the Spurs aging Big Three to play well the entire series.
The Spurs' Sloppy Play
For the past decade, the Spurs have been known for having one of the most well-run offenses in the NBA, but that was not the case for most of Thursday night.
In this postseason, San Antonio only averages 12.6 turnovers per game. Thursday night, they surrendered 22 turnovers, and 18 came from the starting lineup.
Not only were the turnovers a problem, but the offense just did not look smooth. Before the Spurs erupted on the LeBron-less Heat, they struggled getting open shots and seemed stagnant for the first three quarters.
19 turnovers by the Spurs through 3 quarters is ALREADY tied for 3rd most in an entire Finals game in the Duncan-Popovich Era #MIAvsSA— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 6, 2014
Fortunately for the Spurs, their struggles were probably because of the overwhelming heat. When hands get sweaty, it's tough to grasp the basketball.
LeBron's Inability to Stay on the Court
Whether you're pro-LeBron or not, it's obvious that his absence led to the Heat's downfall.
Some people blamed LeBron's workload for his fatigue, but let's not forget that the Heat had a five-day break in between games. Of course the team practiced during that span, but LeBron was winded after only the first five minutes.
The four-time MVP is known for having muscle cramps, but then, out of all players, he should be aware of how important it is to hydrate before and during a big game. Both teams played in the same heat, but only one player had to be helped off the court.
Many people will bring up the infamous Michael Jordan Flu Game, but LeBron did not have the flu, and he's certainly not Michael Jordan. The difference between the flu and muscle cramps is obvious, but there is no way that His Airness would have missed the last four minutes of an NBA Finals game.
LeBron let down his team and allowed the Spurs to get hot and win a crucial Game 1 at home.
As Tim Duncan said, "We played through it." LeBron couldn't. Let his team down.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 6, 2014
As fun as it is to bash LeBron, the Heat's loss was not entirely his fault. When the "King" left, it was still a close game. With only a two-point difference, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were unable to handle the load.
Losing the best player on the planet is tough for any team to overcome, but two veterans with 19 All-Star appearances combined should have done better to stop a Spurs 31-to-9 run.
If Wade and Bosh could have stepped up and won that game, it would have been huge for the Heat. Not only would they have won a crucial Game 1 on the road, but they would have closed their victory without LeBron on the court.
As great as Wade was at start he was quite mute in 4th.— Ryan Ruocco (@RyanRuocco) June 6, 2014
In such a controversial game, it's tough to say if this problem is serious or just an aberration. Fortunately, there is plenty of time for the Heat to overcome a one-game deficit.
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