Basketball / Sports

A looser LeBron 'doing a lot better'

SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James said Saturday there is no way to test whether his body is up to the rigors of Game 1 of these NBA Finals. He also does not expect that to be an issue, with AT&T Center officials assuring that the air conditioning there will be working for Sunday's 8 p.m. Game 2 of this best-of-seven series.

"There is no way to test my body for what I went through," James said before practice at the San Antonio Spurs' practice facility. "The conditions are nowhere near extreme as they were. Unless I decide to run from here to the hotel, that's the only way I would be able to test my body out.

"But I'm doing well, doing a lot better. The soreness is starting to get out. I'm feeling better than I did (Friday) and with another day, I should feel much better."

The Miami Heat lost Thursday's Game 1 110-95, when James was forced to watch the finish due to severe cramping, amid the air-conditioning malfunction at the Spurs' arena.

James said everything these past few days have been about avoiding a repeat episode.

"A lot of treatment, icing, stretching," he said before the Heat returned to practice, the team having spent Friday focusing on video. "Obviously I'm going to get some cardio in, get the heart rate going, a lot of fluids, kind of get my body above the curve."

Coach Erik Spoelstra said he would not push his players this deep into the season, particularly James.

"Whatever he's willing to do," he said. "It's not going to be a Bahamas-like training-camp practice."

Spoelstra said the two-day break helped.

"(Friday) was all about rest and hydration and building his body back up," he said. "Thankfully we had that extra day."

Spoelstra said he did not envision having to limit James' minutes Sunday, or having to monitor the thermostat.

"We'll be open to whatever is necessary," he said. "We anticipate we will play in a very cool gym. We will have to deal with that now. I don't know if guys will be wearing tights under their shorts and long sleeved shirts. I don't know."

The mood Saturday was decidedly light.

As James' media session dragged on, teammate Dwyane Wade grabbed the interview microphone and said, "Ready to go to practice so we can get better, bro? You been talking all day, let's go!"

James responded with an Allen Iverson-ian, "Practice? Not the game! You talking about practice? All right. I gotta get to practice."

STILL THE ONE: A day after calling himself the "biggest target in sports," James offered deeper perspective.

"Because I've been in front of the camera and the camera has been in front of me since I was 15 years old," he said. "You guys have seen everything from me, from being an adolescent kid just playing the game of basketball because he loves it as a hobby, to now playing as a professional, to succeeding, going to the top, to falling off the mountain, to going up to the top again. You guys have seen everything that my life has had to offer since I was a 15-year-old kid.

"Half of my life I've been in front of this, so it makes me an easy target."

STILL MORE: A day after Wade suggested a deeper Heat rotation, James followed up, speaking to the merits of Toney Douglas, James Jones and Udonis Haslem.

"I thought at times maybe Toney, J.J., U.D. could have gotten some minutes, take the load off some of us," he said of Game 1. "But each game is different. Spo is going to coach the game the way he sees the game going and flowing, and we definitely going to ride with that, the way he calls the game."

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