From the beginning of game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in San Antonio, the air conditioning malfunctioned, causing temperature to pass 90 degrees in the fourth quarter. The harsh climate caused Miami Heat superstar, Lebron James to cramp and miss most of the game-deciding fourth quarter.
Since then many have speculated that the malfunction may have been a ploy to handicap the reigning champions.
When asked about the possibility of the air conditioning being a scheme, Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra replied, “That would take an incredible mind to try to plan that for both teams to be able to go through that.”
Some still remain skeptical that the incredible minds in San Antonio didn’t plan the diversion. Sacramento Kings’ shooting guard Jason Terry asserts the Spurs knew and planned the malfunction.
“Pop has done that so many times. I don’t know if it’s a conspiracy, but I’m telling you, going into San Antonio is a tough place to play,” Terry said. “And I can remember very well one time where it was cold showers, there were about a thousand flies in the locker room. This year, there was a snake in the locker room.
“So, they’re going to pull out all the stops to get into your head. When you go to San Antonio, expect something like that. And Miami fell victim to it. For an event of that magnitude, to say that the AT&T Center’s air-conditioning is not working — there’s definitely something wrong with that.”
Terry brings up a legitimate point amidst a cloud of accusations; how could the Spurs organization not have any idea their air conditioning was on the way out? Perhaps they knew and took no action to fix the unit? San Antonio knows Miami relies heavily on the output of the world’s best player and prior to Lebron’s exit at the 7:31 minute mark in the fourth the Heat were up 4.
Adding fuel to the conspiracy flame, each of the Spurs big three have significant experience playing overseas, where many of the games are played without air conditioning.
“Me personally, it didn't bother me, [it] felt like in Europe. Felt like I was playing in the European championship. We never have AC in Europe, so it didn't bother me at all,” said Tony Parker in his postgame interview.
In Manu Ginobili’s postgame press conference he mentioned “I play more years in situations like this than with AC on the court. Not a big deal in that case.”
However, the most interesting comment from those postgame conferences is Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s “I'm sure that 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."
The Spurs announced shortly after the first game, the air conditioning issue was fixed and expects no issues for tonight’s game.
Maybe management at San Antonio decided to throw the reigning champions through a loop, but one thing is certain the Spurs’ players are ready to compete at the highest level.
“I want the AC to come back, I want to play the real Miami Heat, the two-time champs, with LeBron back," he said. "I hope it's not bad. And I hope he's going to be 100 percent on Sunday. Because as a competitor you want to play against the best and that's how I feel," said Tony Parker after game one.
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