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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

Erik Spoelstra has great quote about altitude concerns in Denver

Erik Spoelstra looking on

Nov 30, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts during a break as they take on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

One inevitable concern the Miami Heat will have to deal with in the NBA Finals is playing at high altitude in Denver. Coach Erik Spoelstra, however, is not only unworried, but he has his own trick up his sleeve.

Spoelstra discussed the altitude issue at NBA Finals media day on Wednesday, and downplayed it as an issue. The Heat coach said the team was ready to play at the peak of Mount Everest if necessary, and added that he could always even things up by turning off the air conditioning in Miami.

The air conditioning reference is probably no coincidence, as Spoelstra has some experience in that department. The Heat were infamously on the wrong end of Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals in San Antonio, when an air conditioning malfunction forced the Heat and Spurs to play in temperatures approaching 90 degrees. LeBron James, then with the Heat, actually sat out the final minutes of that game due to intense cramping caused by the temperatures, so Spoelstra is well aware of what that can do to a team.

One could argue the Heat have overcome more difficult challenges en route to the NBA Finals. This may be their stiffest test yet, though.


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