The 2014 NBA Finals got off to a good start. Competitive basketball has been missed since the first rounds of the NBA Playoffs ended in early May. Really, it’s been pretty boring since series like the Mavericks-Spurs and Blazers-Rockets demonstrated two totally different styles of basketball. The former a playoff style grind it out matchup that went seven games, six competitive. The latter displaying two young teams far away from a Finals trip but as close as it gets to entertaining the hell out of people. Three point heave after farther three point heave made for really, really fun games. This series went six and every game had fans glued to their T.V. Part of the reason either team will have some serious issues traveling far in the death matches that take place in postseason play is neither plays any defense. In the end, this was the Houston Rockets undoing as James Harden just kind of drifted into his own full of beard and void of dentistry world and left Damian Lillard wide open for a game and series winning buzzer beater.
Since then we’ve had some snoozers — Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers — but in the end the parity deprived National Basketball Association gave us the NBA Finals rematch most expected and wanted…and deserved…but didn’t need.
A Pacers-Thunder series would have guaranteed a champion that wasn’t from San Antonio or Miami and also Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas or Boston since 1979 when the Seattle SuperSonics won. Which half disqualifies the Thunder from breaking that streak. Half. Less. Much less. Poor Seattle. They deserve that team.
But I’m not complaining, and neither should you. These are easily the two best teams in basketball on the biggest stage to decide the very best team in this 2013-2014 season.
It goes without saying that nothing should ever decide the game other than the players. But this is the NBA and there have been…uhhh…incidents in the past that make one think otherwise.
The great thing about sports is that even when Tim Donaghy or Bennett Salvatore takes matters in their own hands, they more than very likely won’t be there next time. The Sacramento Kings never got their chance at a next time, but the Dallas Mavericks got their precious redemption and made it count.
Through one game the officials haven’t stolen the spotlight but I trust Scott Foster as loud as I can whistle. And I can’t whistle.
But a malfunctioned air conditioning unit in San Antonio’s AT&T Center created a 90+ degree environment in the arena. Fans used their rally clappers to fan off. Stadium staff puts one on ever seat to begin the game. However the team’s benches don’t get colored with a souvenir.
After initially not posing too much of a problem, after the halftime break the temperatures increased in the already disgustingly mild city of San Antonio (shots fired?) caused trainers and equipment managers to overload on towels, ice and Gatorade. Because, well, NBA players HAVE TO DRINK GATORADE.
Thus “#ClimateGate” partners up with “#HydrateGate-orade”
By now you must know Gatorade — who pays a reported $18 million a year to be the official drink of the NBA (I own the official body wash of the NBA!) — took shot after shot after shot after shot at the league’s most talented but also most polarizing player, LeBron James…who happens to have a deal with Powerade.
This tweet was probably the most ‘popular’ of all.
Gatorade takes a shot at LeBron James, “our clients can take the heat.” pic.twitter.com/rpf7sLDqWv
— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) June 6, 2014
So we have: LeBron – Powerade and NBA – Gatorade. Ok, so they took some jabs because the “Ultimate Client” is signed to their rival. However, it reflects poorly on Gatorade to bash LeBron and pile onto the ridiculous #LeBroning photos on the intrawebs because LeBron is the NBA in so, so, so many ways.
OH AND THEY’RE PARTNERS WITH THE MIAMI HEAT.
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during last night’s Heat vs. Spurs game. We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team.”
By now you also must know that James cramped up in the 4th quarter of Thursday’s Game One. The effects of the heated habitat took their toll on both teams, in the end though it affected LeBron James more than anyone else and LeBron is by far the most important single player in the series.
Drinks like Gatorade are supposed to –and market themselves– as a tasteful hydration beverage but also replenishing all your sports juices and possible body reducing factors…like a cramp!
And to thicken this ridiculous plot, LeBron WAS DRINKING GATORADE. Gatorade has apologized and hopefully, absolutely positively sent whoever was running the Twitter handle during Game 1 of the NBA Finals packing. Even if it was the CEO. Even if it was Derek damn Jeter!
For what it’s worth, Gatorade’s most recent ad campaigns feature baseball sort of-star Bryce Harper and….wait for it….Paul George of the Indiana Pacers! So while the mammoth company has deals with the league and the team they couldn’t get over themselves that the player has a deal with Powerade. WHICH TASTES BETTER.
My final thought, friends, is that injuries suck. A cramp is only not an injury to someone who has never had one. Not even had a muscle spasm. It hurts like bloody hell. In the short term, like less than an hour or so, a body cramp –OR A FULL BODY CRAMP LIKE LEBRON HAD– is more debilitating and weakening than a torn ACL.
I have twice been stranded at a restaurant table by friends (@JakeW31) hopping and sweating and breathing painfully and clutching my leg and trying not to cry [too much] with a cramp in my thigh.
LeBron went back in the game with a body cramp and scored an NBA basket in an NBA Finals game on the best remaining NBA team with very good NBA players. NBA-mazing.
And people are giving him crap for it…of course, he’s LeBron. Who said “I’m the easiest target in sports.” And it’s because he is,
Next time any of the haters get a cramp, let’s hope it lasts and they rethink just how very, very painful even a little spasm can be. And then you go score an NBA basket.
So shame on those people, but shame on the NBA for not postponing the game and letting a non-basketball variable play an extreme factor in their biggest stage. A factor that nobody –not even the league– was prepared for.
“We learn something new all the time,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Associated Press. “The league checklist continues to get longer, the things that we need to ensure are functioning properly before games.
Right…Hopefully this isn’t something that decided the series, because then it will never, ever be forgotten even more than it already won’t be let go.
H/T to Deadspin