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As I spent Sunday evening with my family, celebrating the fact that I just earned my Master’s Degree, the Miami Heat faced the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals. Unfortunately, by the end of the night, the Heat failed to have something of their own to celebrate, their dream of a three-peat fading in the distance.

Taking a 4-1 series lead over Miami on Sunday night, the Spurs became champions.

The grades are in for the Heat’s performance in Game 5.

LeBron James not to blame for series loss.

The Big Three as a unit left more to be desired during this series.

“Defense wins championships” cliche still holds true.

Despite their recent loss, the Heat are already favored to win next year’s championship.

San Antonio were playing like winners, way before the finals.

Manu Ginobili among those to thank for San Antonio’s road to success.

Spurs’ assistant coach Sean Marks unsure of his future.

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Should the Heat have had to play in such Heat?

(Photo Credit: www.latimes.com)

For anyone living under a rock, the air conditioner in the San Antonio Spurs’ arena did not work during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. This led to extreme temperatures of 90 degrees on the court, and resulted in a horrible atmosphere for the fans and exhaustion for the players. LeBron James, suffering from excruciating leg cramps, was forced to leave the game during the fourth quarter, and ultimately the Miami Heat lost, 110-95. While many are calling James a quitter, seemingly doubting the level of pain he was in, some are wondering if the game should have even been played at all.

As I was just starting to live-tweet the game Tuesday night, I noticed that many members of the media were commenting on how stuffy it was inside the AT&T Center. I wondered if this was to make note of how many people came to enjoy the first game but soon enough, I realized something was wrong. As more tweets about removing blazers and chugging bottled beverages started to appear, it was announced that the air conditioning was broken. I will admit that my first thoughts were along the lines of “those sneaky Texans.” Perhaps the initial act was done unintentionally, but did no one notice how hot it was during shoot around? Pre-game news conference? Anything? But I regress.

The game went on, and screenshots of iPhones reading 85 degrees flooded the Twitter-sphere, quickly turning into 90 degrees shortly after halftime. I could not help but ask myself “should they postpone this game?” But the better question is, should they have played to begin with?

Clearly I was not the only one who pondered such a thing as some said of course and others said they are not so sure.

Here are the facts:

  • It reached 90 degrees on the court that evening.
  • Because of the heat, athletes burned more calories at a higher speed.
  • They also could not keep themselves as hydrated as necessary.
  • While some people seemed fine, others became lethargic or worse; certain people tolerate different temperatures differently.
  • The court and ball were more slippery than usual, given the excess sweat being produced.

Now, with this said, was there danger in allowing Game 1 to proceed business as usual? Yes and no. On the one hand, one could argue that there was no imminent threat to anyone there that night. On top of that, it was hot of course, but both teams are from warm climate cities. There was water and Gatorade handy. On the other hand, there have been people who have died of a heat stroke. Anyone who suffers from the likes of high or low blood pressure and/or a heart condition can tell you that life becomes increasingly more difficult, the hotter it gets. Mix that with a high performance athletic activity and there is definitely potential trouble. Plus, as James proved, there are certainly other health risks associated with becoming overheated. I would also like to bring up the last point above, regarding the court being wet. Obviously it was wiped down every available chance, but even so, why take the chance of players getting injured from slipping? Seems pretty silly to me.

Fortunately, the worst it got Thursday night was James’ leg cramps, but personally I feel as though there could have been an argument to be made for rescheduling Game 1. Soccer and baseball games get rained out. Football games get delayed due to snow. Should the show always go on when it comes to basketball?

Miami Mail (Formally Known As “Monday Mailbag”)

With Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals under their belt, the Miami Heat are taking on the San Antonio Spurs once again tonight, June 8. Mostly in part because of the air conditioner fiasco and LeBron James’ leg cramps, the start of this series had many people talking. Of course, being as invested in the team as I am, I joined the conversation any way that I could. Here are some things I was asked:

Will James be fine in Game 2?

According to James, he is doing a lot better.” How much better that is, I cannot be sure, but I do know both him and the prestigious team of doctors that work with the team are doing everything they can to assure he stays healthy. It is no secret that James has issues with his legs cramping up, but we also need to keep in mind that the conditions he was playing in on Thursday night, were extreme. At one point, the temperature on the court was 90 degrees. That is unheard of. And for someone who usually likes to practice and play in cool conditions, quite dangerous. In an attempt to reverse the cramps, James took seven cramping pills, filled his body with electrolytes and consumed two and a half bags of fluids via an IV. It may be a stretch to say that he will be back 100 percent on Sunday, but as long as he keeps hydrated, does not push himself too hard and the air conditioner is once again working, he should be good to go.

How does the big man matchup of Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan look to you?

Intense. Although most people focused on the temperature issue and the status of James, there was definitely a story to be told about how Bosh and Duncan went after each other in Game 1. While Bosh scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Duncan had 21 and 10. Both of these big guys certainly went hard, and helped lead their team in the right direction. In fact, Miami only had 29 rebounds to their name when it was all said and done, 10 less than their opponent. However, with that said, Duncan alone committed five turnovers, and the squad as a whole tallied 23, something that could absolutely hurt the Spurs in the long run. Going into this series, many people were worried that Bosh could not handle Duncan, who overall is generally more consistent and composed. But from what I have seen already, so far so good.

What should the Heat focus on moving forward?

First off, I was thrilled to see that Miami stayed away from a slow start. Like I have said before, the habit of having to play catch-up is detrimental to the Heat. Unless they set the pace and make the opposition play their game, things generally do not work out in their favor. Because of this, that would be the number one thing I think Miami (and in particular, James), need to stay on top of, moving forward. With this said, I think forcing turnovers would be a great tactic to consider. The Spurs recorded 23 in their first meeting, only one less than their playoff record high, and probably should have resulted in a loss. Turnovers obviously lead to more ball time for the other team, but it also creates a chaotic atmosphere, stemming from a feeling of not having control. From that comes rushed shots and sloppy play, and all of that combined simply cannot win a game. Lastly, something else I have been saying all postseason, Miami needs all of it’s players involved. This is always the case, but it especially becomes true when playing against a team known for their depth. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis helped out (with 16 and ten points respectively), but I was looking for more out of guys like Chris Andersen and Norris Cole, who each only scored two points and held three rebounds.

Keep those questions coming everyone! Email me at atachaue@depaul.edu or tweet me at @ChitownHeiress.

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Podcast 1: LeBron James’ Cramps, Looking for Mario Chalmers and Fundamental Basketball

Happy Sunday Miami Heat fans! Today I am starting off with my first ever podcast. With Game 2 of the 2014 NBA Finals happening tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT on ABC, I decided to spend some time discussing LeBron James’ unfortunate situation in Game 1, some players who need to step up and the San Antonio Spurs’ strengths.

Too Hot To Handle: Twitter Recap of Game 1 of the NBA Finals

The Miami Heat fell short to the San Antonio Spurs tonight, 110-95, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. With a broken air-conditioner, LeBron James’ legs just could not take the rising temperature (which supposedly reached 90 degrees), and he ended up having to be carried off the court because of severe cramping. Check back soon for my Game 1 reaction. Game 2 is on Sunday, June 8 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

Burnin’ Up: Halftime in San Antonio

According to just about everyone currently at Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it is pushing 85 degrees on the court. Blazers are coming off, cold drinks are being chugged; people on media row and in the stands are doing everything they can to stay cool. But neither the Miami Heat nor the San Antonio Spurs seem to have lost focus due to the malfunctioning air-conditioner.

Currently up, 54-49, the Spurs came out with high energy, took smart shots and locked down on defense. At the end of the first half, they are 7-of-14 from beyond the arc and are shooting 50 percent from the field. However, they do have 10 turnovers under their belts.

The Heat stayed away from the slow start I warned against, and made sure they played at their own pace. All the members of the Big Three are currently in double-figures. LeBron James leads the pack with 13, and Ray Allen has been a key contributor too, with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.

For the most part, it seems as though these two teams are playing equally; as of now anyways. The Big Three and the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are all doing their parts and leading their squads in numbers. On top of this, Miami is only shooting 2 percent less from the field than San Antonio and has one less turnover as well. With that said though, the Spurs’ bench is out-working that of the Heat by 12 points, and as a team have gotten to the line six more times. Miami also stands at 5-13 from the three-point line.

In order to take this one, the Heat need to cut back on the rushed shots, help their bench players find their rhythm and be a little tighter defensively. So far it seems as though they have found no answer for neither Duncan nor Ginobili, which could turn dangerous.

Here’s to an even better second half, and fingers crossed that the AC turns on soon…

Rematch: Game 1 of the 2014 Finals

(Photo Credit: www.espn.com)

Come June 5, the NBA will hold it’s first playoff final rematch since 1998. Last year, the Miami Heat were victorious over the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series, winning their second consecutive championship. Miami, gunning for a three-peat, hopes to once again come out on top.

The Heat, fresh off of a six-game series win over the Indiana Pacers, know that their overall performance must improve if they indeed wish to be successful against the Spurs. Slow start, streaky play and spotty defense cannot have any part of this matchup.

LeBron James, who struggled with his energy and finding his rhythm in the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals, must leave that bad habit in the past, and start off strong. Miami always seems to do better when they get to set the pace. Likewise, key components such as Chris Bosh must be present. Bosh, who was ineffective on both ends of the floor for the first half of the series against the Pacers, must do everything in his power to keep up the groove he found himself in, in Game 4.  James and Dwyane Wade need the third wheel of their Big Three tricycle to maneuver their way past San Antonio.

With all that said however, defense will be the deciding factor. The Spurs, known for their depth and ball movement, will take it anything but easy on Miami. Left with a sour taste in their mouths, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the Texan-gang want their revenge. Although sticking to the fundamentals as usual, San Antonio has played stellar basketball this year. They came out of the regular season with the best record in the league, using a whopping 30 different lineups, lead by head coach Gregg Popovich who has guided the Spurs to six final appearances.

However, this is not to take anything away from the Heat, whose bench has outscored the opponents’ bench in 11 of 15 games during the postseason. Their record ties their best playoff start (from 2011) through 15 games in team history and head coach Erik Spoelstra is only the thirteenth NBA coach to win multiple titles.

Miami has tied 1-1 with San Antonio during the regular season and it is now time to see how they will fair during their postseason battle. Personally, my guess is the Heat in 7, but how do you all feel? Let me know via the poll, below!