Being a Spurs fan took on a whole new meaning during Game 1 of the NBA Finals when the spectators were reduced to fanning themselves with programs and their hands when the air conditioning in the AT&T Center broke early in the first half.
Halftime commentator and former NBA guard Jalen Rose didn’t feel that the players would be affected by the sweltering temperature because they grew up playing outside or in non air-conditioned gyms during AAU tournaments.
However, ABC sideline reporter Doris Burke overheard Heat center Chris Bosh say that he felt as if he, “was playing in his high school gym; there’s no air moving in here.’’
The Heat players couldn't take the heat as winded forward LeBron James asked to be taken out in the third quarter and said in the huddle, "I feel like I've played a whole game. They're trying to smoke us out of here.''
Burke found a thermometer and said the courtside temperature was approaching 90 degrees. Instead of placing ice bags on their ankles or knees, several players on the Heat bench, including Bosh and James, placed ice packs on the back of their necks to cool down.
James later asked to be taken out midway throught the fourth quarter, cramping up due to dehydration from the suffocating heat. James came back in and after scoring on a driving layup, couldn't run back on defense because his leg was cramping so severely.
The Heat fouled intentionally to get James out of the game, and he had to be practically carried to the bench with the Heat trailing 94-92 with 3:59 left. James didn't return and the Heat went on to lose 110-95, outscoring Miami 16-3 since he went out.
Van Gundy joked that the statement released by the AT&T Center would said “the air conditioner was broken,'' but later added that this "isn't how the game should be played.''
Burke read the statement from the Spurs aloud, which basically said an electrical failure that runs the air conditioning has malfunctioned; that they apologize and are working on it.
Spying Heat President Pat Riley in the crowd later, Van Gundy intoned that "he looks debonair even when he is sweating."