1) It is FRIDAY, JUNE 6. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL concussion poll, NBA Finals odds, LeBron all-league, Pacers parting gifts, Marino's flip-flop, Roman numerals & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
POLL: DID STEAMY CONDITIONS, LEBRON'S CRAMPING COST MIAMI A GAME 1 WIN? VOTE NOW: No air-conditioning = LeBron's cramping and early exit = Heat loss in Game 1 last night? Nothing is that simple. But it seemed like it to me. Click on The Heat Is On for my sweat-soaked column from San Antonio off last night's bizarre Miami loss. (And click on Legacy & Revenge for my earlier column previewing the Finals). Do you think the strange circumstances cost Miami LeBron, the lead and the game? Vote now and say why.
HEAT GAME 1 POSTGAME VIDEO WITH MYSELF AND JOE "GOODY" GOODMAN:
FINALS G1: SAN ANTONIO 110, HEAT 95: How thoroughly bizarre! No air-conditioning in the San Antonio arena due to an electrical outage affecting the AC tonight, and it had a direct bearing on the Heat's NBA Finals Game 1 loss. Miami led by seven early in the fourth quarter when the conditions led to LeBron James cramping and having to leave the game. He played only five minutes in the final quarter and sat out the final 3:59 as the Spurs stormed into the lead. Not saying anyone is to blame here or that they should have stopped the game, but the AC fiasco absolutely did affect this result and possibly cost Miami the game. "It sucks in this point in time in the season," James said. "I mean, it's frustration and anger. I lost all the fluids that I was putting in. It was extrenmely hot in the building." Click on The heat is on for my sweat-soaked column from San Antonio, now online. Original post: The NBA hasn't had a three-peat champion since the Lakers in 2000-02 or a Finals rematch since Chicago-Utah in 1997-98, so the best-of-seven commencing tonight in San
Antonio feels special. Feels big. The fact it's considered an even series, or perhaps the Spurs the slightest favorite, adds to the intrigue. So does what lies just beyond for both franchises. Might Tim Duncan retire? Might LeBron James leave in free agency? (The latter drum won't stop pounding, the latest a pile of LeBron-to-Clippers speculation on ESPN.com). Meantime Duncan's Spurs try to avenge last year's crushing Finals loss to Miami slight -- with what seemed a certain title snatched away on Ray Allen's miracle 3. And LeBron's
Heat try to make a third straight championship parade happen. Beyond those broadest themes the series will turn on how smaller questions are answered. Will Kawhi Leonard's defense limit LeBron? Which team's 3-point sharpshooters will be better? Is Tony Parker fully healthy? Does Dwyane Wade have a big series in him? Can Chris Bosh keep Duncan from layup range? How much will each team get out of Manu Ginobli and Mario Chalmers? So many small answers together will create for somebody four huge wins and one championship. So who wins? We had a big poll (admittedly skewed to Heat fans) and 76 percent of you picked Miami. ESPN experts says it'll be Spurs by a 12-6 vote. My pick: In LeBron I trust. Heat in 6.
Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. Tonight: 1. LeBron James (you saw his value in his absence), 2. Chris Bosh, 3. Dwyane Wade. The standings through 16 playoff games, including Finals Game 1: LeBron James 37 points, Dwyane Wade 24, Chris Bosh 17, Ray Allen 8, Chris Andersen 3, Rashard Lewis 3, Norris Cole 2, James Jones 2.
Poll result: Limited sympathy for ex-NFL players on concussions: We asked and 49.2 percent said former players should quit complaining, versus 23.9% who believe they deserve compensation. The other 26.9% can see both sides or are undecided.
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