1. The Air conditioning
It seems unfair to San Antonio’s ridiculous 4th quarter offence that something as trivial as an air conditioning unit is the main talking point. Then again these 2014 playoffs have created more non-basketball related headlines than most years so why should the finals be any different?
The first mention of the (not Miami) heat in the gym was at the start of the second quarter when Jeff Van Gundy (broadcaster) mentioned the fans all around them fanning themselves. From there on in sideline reporter Doris Burke took on the role of amateur meteorologist, providing constant updates on the courtside temperature. We get it, it was hot, next talking point.
According to basketball-reference.com there were a combined 38 turnovers in Game one of the 2014 NBA finals. Are these not the best two teams in the league this year playing against each other in the finals for the second straight season?
Thirty-eight combined turnovers, that cannot be right.
The San Antonio Spurs coughed the ball up 22 times leading to 28 points for the Miami Heat. That is not the type of basketball that wins a team any playoff series, let alone the NBA finals. If the Spurs turned the ball over 22 times how did they manage to pull out the W?
3. Manu Ginobili and the Spurs bench
In previewing this Finals series, I outlined the Spurs extra depth as one of the reasons they felt they would win this series. In Game one the Spurs bench outplayed the Miami bench to the tune of 34 – 20 in points, 18 – 8 in assists and 20 – 10 in rebounds.
Everybody knew coming into the series that San Antonio’s reserves would outperform Miami’s reserves. For Miami to have a chance they need their bench to stay in touch.
Ray Allen (16 points, 3 assists, 5 steals) did his bit, but compared to Manu Ginobili he was a non-factor. Ginobili had a point to prove after underperforming in last season’s finals. If Manu keeps up his level of play (16points, 10assists) San Antonio will feel very comfortable. Speaking of comfort or lack thereof, how can we forget the next point.
4) LeBron’s cramps
When you have the best player in the world on your team most coaches are going to draw up plays revolving around him in crunch time of a close game in the NBA Finals. Those plays don’t tend to involve that player sitting on the bench for the final four minutes with cramp watching his team blow a seven-point lead.
LeBron has suffered from cramps before in his career. Anybody who has ever tried to play sport through cramps knows that it won’t happen. Social media blew up with people (trolls) claiming that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan would play through cramp. Wrong. It can’t be done.
LeBron could barely walk, let alone play basketball. It’s up to Eric Spoelstra and the Heat medical staff to figure out a way to get LeBron ready to impact Game 2. Maybe that means fewer minutes, maybe that means more fluid, but LeBron has to be on the floor at crunch time in game two.
5) He’s (still) got game
Something needs clarification. Nowhere on Miami’s team sheet is the name Jesus Shuttlesworth. Midway through the third quarter a Shuttlesworth impersonator stole the ball off Kawhi Leonard, dribbled coast to coast and finished with the monster jam over (more in between) Marco Belinelli and Danny Green.
The game didn’t start until after 2am Irish time, so maybe that whole sequence was just a dream. At 38 years of age Ray Allen turned back the hands of time with that big finish.
In a moment that must have been equally fulfilling Tiago Splitter finally exacted some level of revenge for the now infamous block by LeBron James in Game 2 of last year’s finals when he rejected a King James layup in Game 1 this year. Im sure Splitter will tell you it was worth the wait.
Check back in Monday for Game 2’s talking points.