The San Antonio Spurs aren't the most hospitable hosts. Their 32-9 home record during the regular season showed just how poorly they have treated their guests.
Still, this latest report, perhaps a feather in the conspiracy theorists' cap, puts an entirely new twist on the phrase "home-court advantage."
Thanks to a malfunctioning air conditioner, temperatures inside the AT&T Center approached triple digits during San Antonio's 110-95 NBA Finals series-opening win over the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
Players tried to fight the heat with wet towels and ice packs. According to Spurs sniper Danny Green, via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, the hosts had another weapon in their climate-combating arsenal that wasn't shared with their guests:
Danny Green says Spurs had cooling fans in their locker room at halftime. Heat did not have them. Adam Silver said he wasn't aware of that.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 6, 2014
The tropical conditions dominated the game's coverage and haven't moved far from the spotlight since.
With leg cramps sidelining four-time MVP LeBron James for the majority of the fourth quarter, the faulty air conditioning has been an impossible-to-ignore part of the plot. Some have even considered it the biggest narrative of the night:
While plenty have debated the importance of the tropical conditions—San Antonio's .588/.520/.773 shooting slash is hard to overlook—others have focused on the problem's source.
The Spurs said an "electrical failure" sparked the outage, via USA Today. Others have wondered aloud if the problem was, in fact, accidental.
Sacramento Kings guard Jason Terry said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's The Afternoon Show with Matt Mosley and Tim Cowlishaw, via ESPN Dallas' Bryan Gutierrez, his past experiences at the arena made it hard to rule out the possibility that this was a tactical ploy:
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. ... 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.
Would the fact that the Spurs had access to cooling fans and the Heat did not further this conspiracy narrative? It's hard to imagine anyone already subscribing to those theories abandoning them as a result of Green's revelation.
For those willing to accept that accidents can happen, how should this new plot wrinkle be processed?
It's not as if the Spurs had an obligation to provide their opponents with cooling devices. Should they have felt compelled to keep everyone on the same competitive field?
That's hard to say. Just like it's hard to picture what, if any, ramifications might come from this news.
When the series shifts over to South Beach for Game 3 on Tuesday night, will Miami try to make things uncomfortable for its guest? Might we see a sudden shortage of towels? Could the visiting locker-room showers at AmericanAirlines Arena start emitting only extremely hot or cold water?
I'd bet on the negative. Heavily.
The NBA Finals seems like one of the most unlikely places to hold a prank war. There are legacies to be written, far bigger fish to fry than evening the score over an uncomfortably warm halftime chat.
Outside of possible enrollment in an etiquette course over the summer, don't expect much to come from this.