62° Good Morning
62° Good Morning

LeBron James keeps his cool, doesn't let Game 1 heat issues get to him

Miami Heat forward LeBron James has a sports

Miami Heat forward LeBron James has a sports drink while on the bench during the first half in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in San Antonio. Credit: AP / Eric Gay

SAN ANTONIO - It's not as if LeBron James had a thermometer attached to his sneakers, giving him a precise gauge of just how cool the AT&T Center was Sunday night.

Even though the temperature supposedly was a shade under 70 degrees -- making it much cooler than the stifling atmosphere that engulfed the Spurs' home digs during Thursday night's Game 1, thanks to a malfunction of the air conditioning system -- the Heat superstar wasn't about to pretend he is a meteorologist.

"Well, I didn't feel it getting off the bus on Thursday," James said before Game 2. "Obviously, I was aware of how hot it was during the course of the game. They're great temperatures for a basketball game, great for the fans that's here, the press."

Nearly three full days after his left leg locked up because of some major cramping, forcing him to sit out the final 3:59 of Game 1, James was ready to get back at it, looking to keep the Heat from falling into a 2-0 playoff series deficit for the first time since he joined forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form Miami's Big 3.

After nonstop chatter and many outsiders questioning why James didn't get more fluids in him and simply suck it up, he said he wasn't the least bit eager to silence the critics and skeptics.

"No, I'm not that anxious," James said. "I'm excited about the opportunity that we have to kind of even up the series, and you look forward to that."

Asked if he'd use all the talk as extra motivation, James made it clear that wasn't necessary. There's something a lot bigger that he expected to push him and his teammates.

"The talk of us evening up the series inside our locker room is the only motivation I need," he said. "We don't get involved in all the extracurricular conversation."

James misfired on his first three shots, going scoreless before throwing down a righthanded stuff with 4:55 left in the first quarter. He played 10 minutes in the opening quarter, finishing with two points after going 1-for-4 from the field.

But he sparked the Heat in the second quarter, scoring eight straight points during one stretch, and helped give Miami a 34-33 lead on a putback with 5:07 left before halftime. James had 13 points and seven rebounds in the first half as the Heat and Spurs played to a 43-43 tie.

James spent the past two days hydrating himself but said he didn't do anything out of his usual pregame routine Sunday night after needing two IVs and seven anti-cramping pills during and after Game 1.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn't know how many minutes he would play James, given what his body went through.

"Not sure. I'm open to it," he said. "I'll read it. Obviously, we'll be attentive to it, and if we need to go deeper, we will. Anticipate we might have to. He's been through every situation you can possibly go through. We had an extra day of rest and we'll manage it."

Even if he wasn't completely back to being himself, James wasn't about to make excuses. He suggested that he was good enough to give it a shot and planned to do whatever he could to keep his team from heading to South Beach feeling disappointed that it didn't get it done in either of the first two games in San Antonio.

"I'm ready. I'm ready to go," James said. "Normal? I wouldn't say normal, but I feel right."

New York Sports