|Photo from bleacherreport.com|
Yes Glenn Frey, it was in fact on.
Outside of being a very good game, the conditions, and their effects will cause this game to live on forever. Whether it be through being replayed on ESPNClassic, the clips that will be shown on SportsCenter when LeBron retires, or twenty years from now as timeless Scott Van Pelt introduces "Classic NBA Finals Moments."
Unfortunately, those "effects" were drastic, and the heat (not the Heat) totally overshadowed what turned out to be a very good game of basketball. But then again, what else could you expect from these two teams.
LeBron James only played five minutes in the fourth quarter, after asking out of the game earlier due to exhaustion. Tony Parker had to excuse himself as well. Mario Chalmers cramped up after a play. Looking at the benches, especially during the second and fourth quarters, it surely seemed that the lack of cool air was hurting everyone.
But of course, the story that everyone is talking about, as usual, is LeBron James. As we saw in Oklahoma City in the Finals two years ago, his leg cramped up and he was forced out of the game. Miami was leading by two with 7:31 remaining. As with that game against the Thunder, he hobbled back onto the floor, dealing with the residual pain, and made a shot. The differences between the two games being that this time around, he was forced to be subbed out of the ballgame immediately after said shot. Trailing by two points with 3:59, James was carried off the court by James Jones and some guy in a suit I assume to be a trainer. First of all, kudos to those guys for taking a large man like James off the court with, relative ease. And kudos to James Jones for making it into this article. But James was never to be seen again, and neither was this close game. The Spurs totally blew it open with a game ending 16-3 run without their star of the court.
When James was initially forced to sit out, Danny Green decided to say hi and made his first field goal of the game, a three. But wait, there's more. Green drilled yet another three, then a breakaway dunk prior to LeBron's return. And yet, the game was still very close until the cramps returned.
For all of those people who I really hope are simply trolling, and saying that he should have played through the pain, and comparing it to Michael Jordan's flu game, please stop. When a muscle cramps, it cramps. You can't move it. I'd love to see Michael Jordan play a game in the Finals with his leg anchored to the court. That should be fun.
I'm not saying that the loss of James is necessarily what allowed the Spurs to take control and win, but it certainly made it easier. Their point center, my boy Boris Diaw continued to play great, while on the other end of the floor, Miami's point forward was gone, and their offense scuffled as a result.
It's really awful that the conditions had to be so bad, because it definitely changed what was otherwise a great game. At the same time, San Antonio deserves all the credit in the world for continuing to play their beautiful offense, while the Heat should be blamed for not being able to defend, nor score at the end of the game. I'm looking at you Dwyane Wade, who should be the next man up when the biggest star is gone.
With that, I'm putting the Nelly Game behind us (for now), and it's time to look forward to what should be a great series, charley horses notwithstanding.