This season, 341 visiting players played a game in San Antonio.
Surely, in that large group, at least some believe the Spurs’ air-conditioning outage in Game 1 of the Finals was a nefarious plot.
And among that subset, it takes only one to speak out.
Jason Terry – who spent the last half of the season not playing for the Kings and battled San Antonio in the playoffs thrice previously with the Mavericks – is carrying that torch.
Terry on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, as transcribed by Bryan Gutierrez of ESPNDallas.com:
“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.”
To be clear: I don’t believe the air-conditioning was anything more than it appeared to be – a chance electrical outage. Conspiracies are difficult to execute because, the more people involved, the harder they are to be kept secret. A plot like this would require, at minimum, an electrician to damage the system and a trainer to hydrate the San Antonio players. Likely, even more people would have to coordinate.
So, I don’t believe it.
But I can’t completely put it past the Spurs either.
Gregg Popovich snaps at reporters because protecting info might give San Antonio an edge. That’s the Spurs’ franchise culture. They’ll go to great lengths for even the slightest chance at an advantage.
Is it impossible to believe they’d crank up the heat if they thought it would help against Miami? (And with LeBron James’ cramps, it did help.)
Like the Spurs, the New England Patriots were once seen as a team that does everything the right way. And they committed Spygate.
These are competitors at the highest level. I don’t think we can ever fully trust we understand what limits they’ll set for themselves.
So, no, I don’t believe Popovich masterminded an air-conditioning conspiracy. But I don’t find Terry’s suspicions unrwarranted, either.