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Thursday saw the first game to feature an NBA Finals rematch since the Chicago Bulls dispatched the Utah Jazz for the second straight year in 1998. However, Thursday’s game did not go according to plan for the defending champion Miami Heat.

After losing to the Heat in seven games in last year’s NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs opened at home with a shot at redemption. The game was competitive through three quarters, with the Spurs leading by five points at the half before yielding a four point margin to the Heat as the fourth quarter began.

Then came one of the more interesting circumstances in the history of NBA competition.

The Spurs’ arena had been experiencing an air conditioning problem through out the game, and temperatures on the court soared to over 90 degrees as the game dragged on into the final period of play. While the Spurs found a way to cope with the adverse circumstances, the same could not be said for the leader of the Heat: LeBron James.

James began to suffer from severe dehydration and cramps as the fourth quarter pressed on: ultimately having to leave the game with more than four minutes remaining after drawing the game within striking range. The Spurs went on to dominate the fourth quarter and win Game 1 running away 110-95.

As the head coach of the Spurs aptly pointed out following the game, the air conditioning malfunction proved an equal obstacle to both teams. James seemed to be the only key player unable to adequately cope. One might recall past performances where Michael Jordan battled through flu-like symptoms to lead his team to victory.

James, however, couldn’t seem to handle adversity that would seem far less daunting.

Michael Jordan beat the flu, but apparently LeBron James couldn’t beat the heat. . . The Spurs, however, had no such issue.

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