After dismantling the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets are preparing for a matchup with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Dominant play is the main reason they are now four wins away from an NBA Finals ring, however LeBron James and Kevin Garnett believe they have a secret advantage; the altitude can be given a lot of credit for their success, reports ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk.
“Yeah, it's real,” Lakers star LeBron James said before Game 1 of the West finals. “You get tired a lot faster.”
“That s— real,” Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett said recently on Showtime's “KG Certified. “You know what [the Nuggets] do before games just to f— with your mental? ‘Welcome to Denver. If you start feeling faint. It's because you are above [sea level] …'
Both James and Garnett do not mince any words when describing the impact that the Denver altitude has on their stamina. Garnett emphasizes that to make matters worse, the Nuggets faithful and PA staff make sure to remind opposing teams of what their bodies are going to be up against.
For the Miami Heat, this will be something they have to take into consideration after playing a season in Miami that is right at about sea level. Their Eastern Conference opponents in the postseason were not any higher, so playing in Denver will certainly be a new challenge.
Nonetheless, a lot of credit can be given to a true home court advantage for the Nuggets. The Nuggets players are accustomed to playing at such an elevation after being there for so many games, something the Heat will have to adapt to quickly. The elevation is not the main reason why the Nuggets are in the NBA Finals, but many will point to it as a primary factor if Denver ultimately wins it all.