SAN ANTONIO -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who succeeded David Stern on Feb. 1, said Sunday night that the breakdown of the air conditioning during Game 1 “is certainly not one of my prouder moments of my short tenure” and “wasn’t handled perfectly.”
Silver said that a few minutes before Game 1, the league was told that one of the main circuits that controls the water pump had broken. At&T Center officials told the league they tried to reset it several times and determined late in the second quarter that they could not fix the circuit breaker. But the Heat was not informed of the problem until during the second quarter.
“There always are going to be human and mechanical errors and it’s unfortunate,” Silver said.
Silver said he wasn’t concerned about the possibility this series might be remembered for the malfunction. “I’m glad this isn’t single elimination,” he said.
Silver addressed other issues:
• Asked whether the breakup of the Heat or Thunder would be considered a success for the league under a labor deal designed to create competitive balance, Silver said: “I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a success. Our goal was not to break up teams. But ultimately, any type of cap system in essence is a form of player sharing.
“So to the extent that James Harden leaves Oklahoma City and the Houston Rockets then become a competitive team, that’s a positive thing for the league. Part of the purpose of a cap system is so you don’t see too much talent aggregated in one market.”
Silver said the sale of the Clippers from Donald Sterling to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion will be voted on by mid-July or earlier, and the only holdup is Sterling’s lawsuit against the league and Silver. Sterling has said he will drop the suit, but Silver said it hasn’t happened yet.
“I have absolute confidence it will be resolved because as part of the sale agreement with Shelly Sterling, she agreed to indemnify the league against a lawsuit by her husband,” Silver said. “So in essence, Donald is suing himself and he knows that. While I understand he is frustrated, I think it’s over.”
• Silver called the Heat “one of the best organizations in sports” and said “for all we know, LeBron James is just getting started.”
THIS AND THAT
• Asked before the game whether he feels normal, James said: “I wouldn’t say normal, but I feel good.”
• Heat center Chris Bosh senses there are still a lot of people who dislike the Heat, and anti-James sentiment expressed on Twitter during his Game 1 cramping episode suggests that, too. But the Heat also has picked up a lot of fans during the Big Three era.
A 12-month ESPN poll of 1,500 Americans indicated the Heat has surpassed the Lakers as the nation’s favorite NBA team. The Heat ranks sixth overall among all U.S. pro sports teams, behind the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, Yankees and Broncos. The Lakers are now ninth — three spots behind Miami.
• Heat center Greg Oden said he is enjoying this experience, despite playing in only one postseason game heading into Sunday, but that the Heat hasn’t told him whether it wants to re-sign him this summer, and he isn’t inclined to ask.
“Once I get through this year, I will get some rest and figure it out from here,” he said. “I’m trying not to think too far ahead.
“Who doesn’t wish they played more? But I’m happy to be here.”