LeBron James suffered through cramps late in Game 1 and, unfortunately for the Miami Heat, that wasn’t the only problem they had against the San Antonio Spurs.
One of the main things Miami has to cling to is the fact it was up one point when James checked out of the game with seven minutes, 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter, despite having a lot of issues with how San Antonio was attacking the Heat on both ends of the courts.
After James left the game, San Antonio outscored Miami by 17 points and pulled away for the win.
According to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star, “LeBron James said he got 2 1/2 bags of IV fluids last night after Game 1. Reports, in a TMI vein, spending most of night going to washroom.”
This is not the only time in James’ career that he has been slowed by cramps, so will be interesting to see if it happens again in this series.
"The body just decides to shut down,” James told the media during a press conference broadcast live on SportsCenter on Friday. “I hydrated as much as I could to the point where my stomach couldn't take anymore."
However, it wasn’t just James leaving the game that turned the tide in the fourth quarter.
San Antonio raced out to a 26-20 lead to end the first quarter and then bumped that up to a 58-49 lead early in the third quarter.
Clearly, James' cramping at an inopportune time wasn’t the only issue for Miami in Game 1.
The Spurs finished the game on a 31-9 run, which was part of a 36-17 advantage for them in the fourth quarter.
What went wrong for Miami in the fourth quarter? It allowed the Spurs to go six-of-six from three-point range, and five of those attempts were uncontested.
As Mark Jackson is known for saying, “Hand down, man down.”
The outside shooting of San Antonio opened up the paint, as the Spurs scored 14 points in the paint in the fourth quarter, while going seven-of-eight from the field on those attempts.
If that wasn’t enough, Miami’s offense, which was scorching earlier in the game, cooled off dramatically when they couldn’t score in transition. According to ESPN Stats, Miami “failed to record a single point in transition in the fourth quarter after scoring 23 transition points in the first three quarters.”
It’s not time to panic as the Heat are now 1-4 in Game 1's in the NBA Finals, and the other three times they lost the first game, they went on to win the series.
It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff make in Game 2 in regards to Miami’s ability to score in transition and shut down San Antonio’s half-court offense.
Miami can take solace in the fact it is 12-0 in playoff games following a loss during the Big Three era.
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