After he briefly returned to the floor and scored the last of his 25 points, James' legs immediately locked up.
"My muscles spasmed 10 out of 10," James said.
Ever since James said he thought the Heat's arena was a little too warm during the 2012 Finals, the team has made sure to blast the air conditioning whenever it starts to get warm in Miami. For some games, before fans fill up the bowl, it becomes legitimately cold in the arena during the playoffs.
Back in 2007, during a playoff game in Detroit on the first truly warm day of the season in the upper Midwest, the Palace of Auburn Hills didn't have its air conditioning sufficiently turned up. James ended up needing to get intravenous fluids before he left the arena after the game. James required an IV at least one other time following a playoff game when playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It sucks at this point in time in the season," James said. "It's frustration and anger."
James and the Heat were all quick to point out the air conditioning snafu did not make a difference in the outcome of the game. The Spurs completely eviscerated the Heat's defense in the fourth quarter, making a remarkable 14 of 16 shots, including all six 3-point attempts.
Not having James, especially to chase Danny Green around as he did earlier in the game, was certainly a significant factor. Green scored 11 points in the fourth quarter after James was forced out. But it was the Spurs' overall mastery of ball movement and the Heat's slow rotations that decided the outcome.
"We're well-conditioned athletes; these are the circumstances that we have," Allen said. "I would've loved to have won the game and had a great story to tell, but we don't have that. These are the things you have to overcome to win championships."
James was to start receiving heavy doses of fluids Thursday night and will continue through the weekend to prepare for Game 2 on Sunday. The NBA's head of operations, Rod Thorn, said after the game the league expected everything to be in order by Sunday night.
Bosh needed two showers after the game. He sweated so profusely after speaking to the media in the sweltering Heat locker room that his first one had been rendered useless. By midnight, though, cool air was coursing through the building, leading to mentions of conspiracy that were only half in jest.
James, however, should not assume the building will be chilled for Game 2 or for any road playoff game for the rest of his career. He's gotten this message before, but it has become clear he's going to have to dedicate himself to managing hot conditions going forward. Just as he's remedied other playoff stumbling blocks, like an unreliable jumper and post game, he'll now have to focus on this.
"I have to put myself in position where I can be out there for my team," James said. "Sitting on the sideline ... is not good for us and not good for me."