MIAMI Miami guard Dwyane Wade said the Heat may have paid the price for their grueling seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers as the San Antonio Spurs took advantage of late turnovers and missed opportunities to win game one of the Finals 92-88.
The Spurs took care of Memphis in four games in the Western Conference final, a full week before Miami's game seven against the Pacers and while there is always a debate over 'rust v rest' as an advantage, Wade felt the Heat had tired.
"I thought that we were a little fatigued, honestly, in the fourth quarter, looking around," Wade, who had 18 points, told reporters.
"We looked like a team that came off a seven‑game series. I thought we got some shots we wanted but we were a little careless at times as well. We turned it over," he said.
"We did a great job all game but having five turnovers in the fourth quarter isn't going to win you a game, especially not in the Finals.
"We'll be better prepared next time and hopefully make better decisions in the fourth quarter."
The five Miami turnovers in the final quarter resulted in six points for the Spurs.
Wade's team mate LeBron James agreed that fatigue was at play.
"I could see it on a few of our guys' faces, (they) felt a little fatigued, still felt a little banged up from that seven-game series," said James.
"The Spurs looked like they were rested in the fourth quarter and they took advantage of that.
"We had some mental mistakes and there are only a couple of teams that you can't make mistakes against, especially in the fourth - and San Antonio is first among them," added the league's Most Valuable Player.
Miami will take heart from knowing they lost their opening game, also on home court, to the Chicago Bulls in the second round of this year's playoffs and came back to win the series 4-1.
The Heat also did exactly the same in last year's final against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"One thing about our team is that we've gotten better as the series went on. We hate to lose before we start to get a little edge but that's what happens," said James, who recorded his tenth career playoff triple-double with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
"We will see if we can continue to repeat what we have been doing and come back on Sunday, with a better game plan, and try to even the series."
(Editing by Ian Ransom)