Miami couldn't stand the heat in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals, as the San Antonio Spurs dominated the game in the fourth quarter to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
In a rematch of last year's NBA championship, the Spurs got off on the right foot in Game 1 with strong performances up and down the roster. Gregg Popovich used his team's depth to perfection—as usual—and Miami's Big Three was unable to contend with Popovich's mastery of his roster.
The Heat will have to come back strong in Game 2. If the Spurs go up 2-0 in the series, then it will not be easy for Miami to win its third straight title.
A veteran team like San Antonio won't let a second straight Finals slip away.
Below is all the viewing information you'll need to watch the action unfold.
|Date||Matchup||Start Time (ET)||Channel|
|Sunday, June 8||Game 2: Heat at Spurs||8 p.m.||ABC|
Note: Each game can be seen online at ABC.go.com.
LeBron James had a strong showing in Game 1, even if he left early due to cramps:
LeBron James left a 2-point game due to cramps with 3:59 left. He still led all scorers in Game 1 w/ 25 Pts. pic.twitter.com/VgRTb5VCoD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 6, 2014
Cramping isn't something that will hinder James in the rest of the series. Staying hydrated should help him in that regard. If the world's best player had a history of cramp issues, I would be worried. But he doesn't, so I'm not.
Will LeBron's Game 1 cramps prove detrimental to the team's outlook?
With that said, the cramps in Game 1 could prove to be huge. As the above tweet noted, it was just a two-point game when he left. His loss was felt by the Heat on both offense and defense.
As a two-way player, James makes his presence felt on both ends of the floor.
Without him, the Heat were unable to stave off the Spurs and win the first game of the series.
James' absence didn't hand San Antonio the game, as Popovich's squad still had to work hard to earn the win. However, with James on the court, I'm not so sure the Spurs would have hit 14 of their 16 shots in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs now only need three wins to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Will LeBron's cramps in Game 1 do the Heat in?
San Antonio's 4th Quarter Dominance
Here's a bold prediction for you: The Spurs will not lose another game if they fire on all cylinders in the fourth quarter like they did in Game 1.
ESPN Stats & Info provided its Twitter followers with a shot chart:
The Spurs were incredible in the 4th quarter last night. They went 14-16, including 6-6 from 3 pic.twitter.com/tFbZJ02H9A— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 6, 2014
The key stat there is that the team was 6-of-6 from long range. The Spurs' ability to convert from deep is crucial to the outcome of the rest of the series. Danny Green can take games over with his shot when it's on. That makes him something of an X-factor in this series, especially in fourth quarters.
In the fourth quarter of close games, the team with the most mental vitality often wins.
San Antonio is helmed by perhaps the most mentally tough coach in the NBA, so that obviously bodes well for the Spurs moving forward.
Barring a blowout in the first three quarters, there is absolutely no way the Spurs drop a game if they keep up a consistent fourth-quarter attack. Tim Duncan won't let it happen, especially after last season's fourth-quarter meltdown in Game 6 of the Finals.
They'll be using that as motivation.