For Colorado natives, the altitude advantage that Denver teams have at home is well known. Before nearly every sporting event, whether football, basketball, hockey, baseball or soccer, the opposing team is reminded of the myriad of health problems athletes competing at altitude face, including apoxia and severe dehydration.
While the advantage is apparent, it’s not really felt by natives who have spent their entire lives at altitude who are used to it, but it is breathlessly discussed by visiting players and coaches. Add Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston‘s name to the list of athletes who dread playing at altitude. After shootaround on Sunday, Livingston expressed his desire to face the Portland Trailblazers rather than the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.
“Probably Portland, just because nobody wants to play in the mountains,” Livingston said. “I hate paying there, man. There’s a reason why they got a good home record every year. The altitude, man, that is real.”
Either the Nuggets or Trailblazers will face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Trailblazers are currently holding the eighth seed over the Nuggets and are one-and-a-half games ahead. The Trailblazers have both of their remaining two games at home, while the Nuggets have two of their last three on the road.
Since the Trailblazers hold the tiebreaker due to their regular-season series win over the Nuggets, the Nuggets only chance at making the playoffs is if the Trailblazers lose both of their remaining games against the Spurs and the Pelicans. Then, the Nuggets would need to win their remaining three, two of which are against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their other game is against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Nuggets have an opportunity to put some pressure on the Trailblazers Sunday afternoon when they play their final home game of the season against the Thunder.