The NBA Finals demand a closer look. They also demand instant reactions. After each game of the series, the Crossover Chronicles staff will share their thoughts on the games that will decide the championship.
Matt Zemek: The horrible conditions inside the AT&T Center should enable all NBA fans to appreciate what the Lakers and Celtics did in Boston Garden 30 years ago. Yet, let’s not call these athletes pansies. They were conditioned to expect a certain kind of environment. Moreover, after a long layoff, it’s not as though they had been playing within the every-other-night context a pro athlete is used to.
If there’s a salient comment to make about the conditions, it’s that they affected both teams. San Antonio was stuck in molasses for much of the third quarter. We’ve all had heat make our heads swim a little bit. The body moves in such conditions, but the rhythm and flow evaporate. This is what happened to the Spurs. Let’s not say this was a one-way dynamic. LeBron cramping was one of the central keys to the game, but the old Spurs had to fight through this, too.
Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili looked pretty good down the stretch. Give the Spurs their due for overcoming a horrible third and the 22 turnovers they coughed up.
Assuming LeBron and the AT&T Center air conditioning unit are both healthy in Game 2, Sunday’s game — which could very well decide the series (it decided the East Finals between Miami and Indiana) — becomes a true measuring stick for each team. Let’s save series-long pronouncements for then… if not later.
Philip Rossman-Reich: Why do I feel like I have been robbed of a great game? Nothing is worse than a completely unpreventable, but relatively minor injury — like a cramp or sprained ankle — deciding a game like this. And believe me, with the way LeBron James was playing tonight — and even after he left with cramps for the first time — his absence was a big difference in this game. James has that kind of impact.
San Antonio still had to go out and win this game. It was only made easier by James’ absence. A 31-9 run was supercharged by Danny Green coming alive from beyond the arc. Of course, he does not create for himself. He just has to hit the shots. The Spurs kept their cool (a pun!!!!) and their composure, overcoming 22 turnovers and keeping their passing going to find the best shot.
Tim Duncan looked rejuvenated and difficult to stop around the basket. Manu Ginobili was pressing into the paint. And Boris Diaw played really well offensively as a distributor. This is San Antonio at its best.
Except it really was not. The Spurs were just good for a stretch in the first half and the fourth quarter. They will have to figure out their turnovers and keep the Heat out of transition. LeBron James is not going to miss the end of a game again.
Tim Duncan face! https://t.co/NfhJic69h0
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) June 6, 2014
If LeBron comes out because of the heat, then it has officially affected the game. Because he wouldn't at this point.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 6, 2014
Before Shane Battier checked into the fourth quarter he leaned over press row and said, "It's like Cameron. I feel right at home."
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) June 6, 2014
Paul Pierce is not impressed, LeBron. Real men need to be wheel chaired off the floor. #Finals
— Orlando Magic Daily (@OMagicDaily) June 6, 2014
Tonight's Heat-Spurs game: 90+ degrees Game 5 in Boston Garden in 1984: 97+ pic.twitter.com/U9aeNPODiB
— Jerry Mitchell (@JMitchellNews) June 6, 2014
For the most part, that was a fantastic game. Have the two best teams. This series is going to phenomenal all around.
— Bow Tie Killa (@ZachOliverNBA) June 6, 2014
— Erin Nichols (@erin_nichols) June 6, 2014