San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich's dry sense of humor is well documented by now. The latest installment mocks outlandish conspiracy theories holding that the franchise had something to do with an air conditioning system malfunction during Game 1 at the AT&T Center.
Popovich, joking about last night: "I saw the air conditioning people in the hallway … i sent them home."— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) June 6, 2014
Asked about a conversation with LeBron James, Popovich was all business, though.
What were Popovich & LeBron talking about before second half? Popovich: "It's between us. It's nobody's business."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 6, 2014
James was forced out of the game due to cramps caused in part by the sweltering environment in which the game took place. Temperatures surpassed 90 degrees and impacted players on both teams.
But none more so than James.
The Spurs addressed the air conditioning debacle with limited explanation, per Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver:
At the end of the third quarter, the public address announcer acknowledged the AC malfunction, drawing whistles and boos from the crowd. The Spurs also confirmed the problem in a press statement.
'An electrical failure for the power that runs the AC system in the AT&T Center has occurred,' the statement read. 'We are continuing to work on resolving the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience.'
Some have surmised that the organization itself had something to do with the malfunction, provoking plenty of scoffing in the process.
3 dumbest story lines in series: 1. LeBron should have pushed through. 2. Spurs conspiracy. 3. Spurs "dislike" Heat. All wrong.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 6, 2014
Even some of the players have noted that absurd tenor of discussion surrounding Thursday night's game.
Battier on the stupid story lines: "If anything, I'm impressed by the creativity."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 6, 2014
Which raises the question: Is creativity always a good thing?
Perhaps not when assessing a contest like Game 1. Had the Spurs had anything to do with the electrical failure, chances are someone would be able to verify as much. Short of any evidence, the notion is as comical as Popovich's assertion that he halted the repair effort.
With those repairs apparently completed, all indications are that the air conditioning system will be fully operational come Sunday's Game 2. NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn indicated as much to ESPN's Michael Wilbon after Game 1 (via ESPN.com): "They expect everything to be perfect come Sunday. And that's what we expect, too."
According to a statement released by Spurs Sports & Entertainment (who operates the arena), everything is now in working order (per NBCSports.com's Kurt Helin):
The electrical failure that caused the AC system outage during Game 1 of the NBA Finals has been repaired. The AC system has been tested, is fully operational and will continue to be monitored. The upcoming events at the AT&T Center, including the Ramon Santos concert tonight (Friday), the Stars game on Saturday and Game 2 of the NBA Finals, will go on as scheduled. We apologize for the conditions in the arena during last night’s game.
The equally important question is how the Miami Heat will respond to a 1-0 series deficit. San Antonio found its rhythm in the fourth quarter, making 14 of its 16 field-goal attempts in the period and nailing all six three-pointers.
Whatever the conditions in Game 2, Miami will have to find a way to stifle the Spurs' shooters. Erik Spoelstra's club helped force 22 turnovers in Game 1 but allowed San Antonio to shoot 58.8 percent from the field—a figure every bit as scorching as the temperatures during the game.