Jason Terry Cites Past Precedent to Accuse Spurs of Rigging Game 1 AC Failure

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 7, 2014

Nov 13, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Jason Terry (31) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Something didn't feel right about the AT&T Center's malfunctioning air conditioner during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals to Sacramento Kings guard Jason Terry.

And it was more than just the sweltering heat.

Terry, during a Friday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's The Afternoon Show with Tim Cowlishaw and Matt Mosley, said his past experiences inside the arena led him to wonder whether this was simply an accident, via ESPN Dallas' Bryan Gutierrez:

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.

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.

LeBron James, in particular, fell victim to the hot, humid conditions.

Leg cramps forced the four-time MVP to spend the majority of the fourth quarter of San Antonio's 110-95 victory on the sidelines. He exited at the 7:31 mark of the period, returned with 4:33 remaining and left for good just 34 seconds later when his body seemed to shut down following a driving layup.

"Basically my body said, 'OK, enough jumping for you for the night,'" James said, via Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick. "You've had enough. Nothing I could do about it."

While some have used the narrative to attack James' toughness, others have taken Terry's approach and wondered if the malfunction may have been intentional.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, via CNN's Rachel Nichols, scoffed at that notion:

Of course, Pop's words might not hold a lot of water with conspiracy theorists.

Well, the coach isn't the only one dismissing the idea of foul play:

Terry is right about one thing: Strange things do seem to follow the Spurs.

A generator malfunctioned before San Antonio's scheduled game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City earlier this season. Smoky conditions inside the arena resulted in the contest being postponed.

On Halloween night 2009, play was halted late in the first period of the Spurs' home game with the Sacramento Kings as a bat descended onto the court. Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson found a snake in his locker before his team's road tilt with the Spurs in the second round of this postseason.

The unexpected, as Terry said, should probably be expected.

But the conspiracy theories need to stop.

How would the Spurs even had known that James would be the one most impacted by a sweaty, stuffy arena? Why would San Antonio willingly risk exposing its own players to those unsavory conditions?

Those are questions that really don't need answering now and shouldn't moving forward. The problem that led to the outage, the Spurs said in a statement, "has been repaired," (h/t Dan McCarney of the San Antonio News Express). The air conditioning unit "has been tested, is fully operational and will continue to be monitored."

Expect everyone to keep a thermometer handy for Game 2. Barring any temperature spikes, though, expect this narrative to disappear as quickly as it surfaced.

This had all the makings of an unfortunate incident, one which just happened to surface while the whole world was watching.

It's time to move on, to put the focus back inside the lines. Lines that, despite Terry's assessment, remain conspiracy-free.