The Heat are gunning for a third consecutive NBA title, but started with a 110-95 setback to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Centre on Thursday.
The contest was played in sweltering conditions due a faulty air conditioning system, which only further worsened James’ cramps.
Despite flitting in and out of the game, James still top scored for his side with an impressive 25 points, but that did little to lighten his mood.
“It’s frustration and anger,” he said. “I’m feeling better than I did when I come off the floor, so (I am) doing better.”
James cut the score to within two with a lay-up with just over four minutes remaining, but did not return to the court after doing so.
The 29-year-old wanted to attempt to go back into the game, but head coach Erik Spoelstra would not allow it.
He added: “I was going to try and give it a go but Spo (Spoelstra) said ‘No’. It sucks at this point in time in the season.”
Spoelstra was unhappy to see his star man limp off, adding: “It felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench.”
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich admitted the conditions were not ideal, and believes the teams will benefit from the rest ahead of Sunday’s game two.
“I think everybody got a little tired or dehydrated for sure,” said Popovich.
“I am sure both teams are going to be happy that we have a couple of days before the next game and hopefully we can pay our bills.”
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