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Leg cramps render LeBron James useless at crunch time in Game 1

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

UPDATE: LeBron James spoke to a pool reporter after the game, here is the transcript, via ASAP Sports:

First, the obvious. How are you feeling?

I'm feeling better than I did when I came off the floor. So, doing better.

You were going to try to give it a go?

I was going to try to give it a go and [Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra] said no. It sucks at this point in time in the season. You know, after I made that layup we was down two and, you know, as well as they played we still had a chance. You know, after I came out of the game, they kinda took off. And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.

Is it just frustration? Is it anger?

Yeah, it's both. I mean, it's frustration and anger, but at the same time it's something that you try to prevent, you try to control. I mean, I got all the fluids I need to get, I do my normal routine I've done and it was inevitable for me tonight, throughout the conditions, you know, out there on the floor. I lost all the fluids that I was putting in in the last couple of days out there on the floor. It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season.

You tried to move, just saw the legs buckle on the baseline, how much pain were you in?

The best option for me to do was not to move. I tried and any little step or nudge, it would get worse. It would lock up worse and my muscles spasmed 10 out of 10. Best thing for me to do was just not to move, and, you know, it was frustrating.

Was it just the left leg or was there more?

Well, no, it was the whole left leg, damn near the whole left side. I was losing a lot throughout the game. It was extremely hot in the building, you know, both teams, fans, everybody could feel it. I was the one that had to take the shot.

What did you try and do at halftime? Did you have any idea how much fluid you tried to get in you?

Drank a lot at halftime, even changed my uniform, just tried to get the sweat up off of you. Our training staff tried to do the best they could by giving us ice bags and cold towels on timeouts, keep us dry. It was an unusual circumstance, I never played in a building like that. It's been a awhile, like high school game or CYO and everybody is sitting on top and you feel good being in a building like that. But, you know, at the end of the day, it's no discredit for what they did. They played extremely well. They moved the ball extremely well. I think they had 30 assists. You know, even from the turnovers both teams were committing, uncharacteristic of both teams, they played extremely well.

You have nearly three full days now before you have to play again, how thankful are you that you have the extra day in between?

I need it, I need it, I need it. We're going to start tonight, continue to get the fluids in me and get me ready for Sunday. Thankful for the fact that I can get on it tonight, and put myself in a position where I can be out there for my team for the long haul. And sitting on the sideline, you know, if I'm not in foul trouble, is not good for us and not good for me. Look forward to Game 2 and go from there.

---

As much as losing Game 1 hurt for the Heat, the way they lost may have hurt more. LeBron James missed nearly half of the fourth quarter because of recurring leg cramps in Thursday's 110-95 Spurs victory at San Antonio.

After missing some time at about the 7-minute mark, James re-entered the game with 4:33 remaining. After making a layup at the 4:10 mark, he went down for the second time down with cramps and had to leave with 3:59 remaining, and -- as it turned out -- he was done for the night. After driving to the basket for a layup against San Antonio Spurs' forward Boris Diaw, James couldn't even make it back down the court, forcing the Heat to foul.

LeBron then had to limp off the floor before being carried to the first seat on the Heat's bench. With the air conditioning in the arena being broken during this game, temperatures have risen above 90 degrees in the building. James has had problems with cramping in playoff games before and was hit with these leg cramps at the worst time for the Heat.

When he exited the game for the last time, the Spurs were up 94-92. San Antonio went on a 16-3 run to close it out to take a 1-0 series lead.

CBSSports.com's Matt Moore caught James leaving the arena with just a bit of a limp:

Game 2 is Sunday in San Antonio.

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