There are many reasons why home court presents a real advantage for teams during the NBA Playoffs, but the weather wouldn’t appear to be one of them.
Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose, however, disagree, believing the weather played an important role in the New York Knicks struggling against the Miami Heat in South Beach during Games 3 and 4 of their second round playoff series. With the Knicks down by double digits at halftime of Game 3 Saturday afternoon, Rose pointed to Miami’s weather as the culprit.
“We talk so much about the nightlife and joke about it in Miami, but also, as the road team, you gotta pay attention to that weather and that heat,” Rose said. “Because it affects the endurance of your muscles and causes tiredness.”
To be clear, NBA games in Miami are played indoors, with air conditioning, much like they are in other arenas throughout the league.
Greenberg, who was sitting next to Rose when he made the weather declaration during ESPN’s halftime coverage of the Knicks and Heat on Saturday, took the strange theory to heart. Tuesday morning, after the Knicks lost Game 4 in Miami, Greenberg reiterated how hard it is for road teams to play in South Beach this time of year, because of the weather.
ESPN’s Mike Greenberg thinks the weather in Miami is sapping energy out of the Knicks pic.twitter.com/viApZoU4pM
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 9, 2023
“I know people will immediately associate that with the nightlife and all that, but according to Jalen, there’s more than that,” Greenberg explained. “There’s also just the reality of the temperature change, the heat, the geography. Being down there for three days, it sort of saps a little bit of your energy and your strength. We talk about that primarily in football, I know this is an indoor sport, but the Knicks, whatever it is, Jimmy Butler has just destroyed them.”
We talk about that primarily in football for teams that don’t play indoors! The weather in Green Bay for Packers home games is a factor, the weather in Detroit for Lions home games is not. The weather in Miami for Dolphins home games is a factor, the weather in Arizona for Cardinals home games is not.
The real answer for what’s going on in South Beach is that Jimmy Butler is just really, really good in the playoffs. But maybe we should put an asterisk next to every championship the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks won, noting it was too hot for road teams to get a fair shake.
What about the Denver Nuggets? Are we really talking about the weather of games in air-conditioned arenas and just going to ignore Denver enjoying real physical advantages by forcing road teams to play in a high-altitude environment that literally makes it harder to breath?
Luckily for the Knicks, they’re returning home to New York City for Game 5 Wednesday night, where it’s expected to be a comfortable 72 degrees outside, with an elevation of 279 feet.