LeBron James couldn't take the heat. And the Heat couldn't take the Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
On 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger & Mazz" show, Marc "The Beetle" Bertrand says James' exit from the opener against the Spurs with the cramps felt 'round the world couldn't be helped. While Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti gleefully question LeBron's toughness.
Said Massarotti: "I just think it's awesome for all of the complimients and hype LeBron gets: He's unstoppable. In transition, he's a force...You know how the Spurs took him down? They turnred up the heat."
It took Mazz, and others, back to Game 5 of the 1984 Finals, played in the steambath known as the old Boston Garden, where the Lakers wilted against the Celtics.
"Of course it was intentional," Mazz said. "That's Red Auerbach Playbook page number one. Tell me you didn't have flashbacks to Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] sitting on the bench with an oxygen mask? Remember how we mocked Kareem for that?... For all the things we say about James, just make it a little hot in there. He'll wilt.
Bertrand said it's just something James is pre-disposed to.
"I don't think it's that big a deal," Bertrand said. "I don't think he tapped out. I don't think this is him dogging it. This is a finely-tuned athlete. The Spurs and everybody else knows he has an issue with this. I think some people are different than others... I think LeBron James has something that he finds in his body that's tough to deal with heat and he has a cramping issue. I can't imagine that he, and the doctors he has access to, and the trainers he has access to, haven't done everything in their power to keep this from happening. I don't know what more this guy could have done to prevent it...I do not think it's a reflection on him."
Felger said he's been told by pro athletes that they can control cramping up.
"There are professional athletes who say that cramping is entirely in your control," Felger said. "He's still a guy that when it's a little warm in a big game, he has to tap out. Jordan, Russell, Bird. I mean that's where all the NBA people want to put this guy. I don't remember those guys having to tap out when it got a little warm. "