The AT&T Center’s air conditioning problem during Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals was not a planned event. There is no conclusive proof that the San Antonio Spurs, who were ahead by just two points when LeBron James left the game with leg cramps, are any better at playing through oppressive heat than their Miami counterparts. The AT&T Center staff is not going to look like rubes on national TV, forcing 18,000-odd fans into a sweatbox, just to give their hometown team a perceived edge. Things just don’t work that way in 2014.
Former Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry, though, remains to be convinced. He dished on as much in a discussion with ESPN Dallas’ 103.3 FM on Friday:
“You know what, Pop [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] 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."
"Oh, no question,” Terry said. “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."
Well, I might be swayed after hearing this. And the fly situation was echoed by Grantland’s Zach Lowe in his take from Friday:
Something always goes wrong in the AT&T Center. The wireless access didn’t work last season in Game 3, forcing the league office to send an emergency tech crew ahead of Game 4. There was a weird fly infestation during last year’s Finals; the flies almost chased Udonis Haslem out of an interview during one shootaround.
Actually, the wi-fi problem isn’t unique to last year’s Game 3, as scribes have been complaining about poor connections at AT&T Center for years. There’s also bats, you’ll recall.
Still, a summertime fly problem deep in the heart of Texas, or a few instances of too-cold showers (and, yes, fine … there was a snake) is not the same as losing air conditioning and potentially putting a sold out crowd at risk of heat stroke. Or your own players, with their own exploding shoes, possibly at risk of slipping on a puddle of what LeBron James’ sweatband couldn’t handle.
We hope that, when he made these comments, Mr. Terry had his tongue firmly placed in cheek while shielding himself from the prying eyes of those black helicopters, as piloted by remote by Gregg Popovich.
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