SAN ANTONIO: The San Antonio Spurs hope to turn down the heat in game two of the National Basketball Association finals on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The Spurs said they have fixed the broken air conditioner, which transformed the AT&T Center into a sauna bath in game one, causing Miami Heat superstar LeBron James to leave the game late in the fourth with severe dehydration and leg cramps.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra says the venue will probably be even cooler than normal for game two when the air conditioner is working again.
“We anticipate we will play in a very cool gym,” Spoelstra said. “We will have to deal with that now. I don’t know if guys will be wearing tights under their shorts and long-sleeved shirts.”
The top-seeded Spurs will try to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NBA finals when they host Miami.
San Antonio took the lead in the best-of-seven series by beating the two-time reigning champion Heat 110-95 on Thursday.
The Spurs captured the tightly-contested contest by breaking the game open after James started cramping up.
Miami led 86-79 with nine and a half minutes to go. But the Spurs finished the game by outscoring the Heat 31-9.
The Spurs scored on 13 of their final 17 possessions, and that included three Danny Green three-pointers.
The Spurs also won despite turning the ball over 23 times. That’s the most turnovers they have committed in this year’s playoffs. They had 22 in game two of the first round against Dallas when they lost by 20 points.
“We try to be as good of a defensive team as we can be,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during Friday’s practice. “We’re not as good as we used to be defensively.
“So if that’s going to diminish, you need to do something at the other end of the floor to make up for it.”
Miami failed to take advantage, even though they scored 28 points off the Spurs’ mistakes.
There was “a lot of carnage to go through yesterday,” Spoelstra said on Friday.
One area they expect to improve is in closing games. James, who is the best clutch player down the stretch in the league, said also on Friday that the two days’ rest between games has helped him recover.
“I’m doing well, doing a lot better. The soreness is starting to get out. “I’m feeling better than I did yesterday and with another day, I should feel much better tomorrow.”
James said he is not going to shy away from playing big minutes on Sunday just because of what happened to him in game one.
He added that he treats every game like it is a game seven and isn’t about to change that now.
“The situation that happened in game one, you don’t know if it’s going to happen again,” James said.
“I can live with the results. If I’m giving my all and playing as hard as I can, I’m putting my body and my mind on the line for us to win, it’s all that matters.
“It can be taxing but at the end of the day, it is what it is. Two weeks left in the season, then we all can go rest.
“I did that in game one and for me the tank was empty. And I used the reserve tank until my body couldn’t go no more.
“I’m going to try to do the same thing. I want to be able to finish the game but you have to have that mindset, there is no tomorrow.”