Danny Green, Spurs heat up after LeBron James limps off

Willie Grace | 6/6/2014, 1:30 p.m. | Updated on 6/6/2014, 1:30 p.m.
The San Antonio Spurs saw LeBron James wincing in pain from cramps, unable to put weight on his left leg, ...

The San Antonio Spurs saw LeBron James wincing in pain from cramps, unable to put weight on his left leg, and recognized the obvious: Game 1 of the NBA Finals was theirs for the taking.

"When LeBron goes out, obviously you lose the best player in the world," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We realized that, so we took advantage of it."

The Spurs buried the Miami Heat beneath a staggering shooting display that began with James on the court and peaked after he left en route to a 110-95 victory in the Finals opener. The Spurs admitted they felt the soaring temperatures in the AT&T Center – caused by an air-conditioning malfunction – but it didn't seem to bother them in the closing minutes.

The Spurs missed only two of their 16 shots in the fourth quarter and made all six of their 3-pointers. They trailed the Heat by as many as seven points early in the quarter, and were down two when James exited for the first time with 7:31 left. James returned three minutes later, but lasted only one possession when he came up limping again after his layup cut the Spurs lead to two.

After James exited for good, the Spurs outscored the Heat 16-3. No one took advantage of James' absence more than Danny Green, who made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, none coming when James was on the floor.

"I felt [the heat], too, but lucky for me, I didn't cramp up," Green said.

Green lit up the Heat through the first five games of last year's series, making a Finals-record 25 3-pointers. He struggled in the series' last two games when the Heat rallied past the Spurs to win the championship. He also looked headed for another rough night Thursday when he missed his first four 3-pointers and had just two points – on a pair of free throws – through the first three quarters.

Green's teammates did their best to keep him encouraged.

"I was pushing him hard," Parker said. "I don't know if you saw, but every timeout I was screaming at him and encouraging him. I'm very proud of him because … nobody said it was easy. Last year, he was on fire, but every Finals is different.

"He just kept his composure, kept playing defense, and in the fourth quarter finally he made some big shots. And I told him after the game I was proud of him, and you have to keep playing. You're a young player and you're going to get a lot of ups and downs, and that's what's going to show your character."

The Spurs outscored the Heat 36-17 in the fourth quarter. After committing 22 turnovers in the first three quarters, they had one in the fourth.

Green lit up the Heat through the first five games of last year's series, making a Finals-record 25 3-pointers. He struggled in the series' last two games when the Heat rallied past the Spurs to win the championship. He also looked headed for another rough night Thursday when he missed his first four 3-pointers and had just two points – on a pair of free throws – through the first three quarters.