Jason Terry believes Spurs’ air-conditioning outage might have been intentional

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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.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.