DENVER (KDVR) — With the Miami Heat in town to face the Denver Nuggets for the basketball championship, a long-held belief has resurfaced.

Altitude matters.

Ben Thompson, professor of human performance and sport at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said it can and does affect the body.

“So, when you’re exercising,” he said, “your heart rate’s gonna be higher. Your breathing rate’s gonna be elevated, to try and make up for the altitude.”

Thompson said the Heat’s decision to arrive in Colorado as early as possible was strategic.

“It’s more, I think, gonna be kinda psychologically understanding how they are gonna feel when they come up in altitude to play,” Thompson said.

Denver hosts the Heat on Thursday evening in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Nuggets-Heat NBA Finals schedule

Games 1 through 4 are guaranteed to be played, but Games 5 through 7 are only if necessary.

All times are in Mountain Daylight Time:

  • Game 1 in Denver – Thursday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Game 2 in Denver – Sunday, June 4 at 6 p.m.
  • Game 3 in Miami – Wednesday, June 7 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Game 4 in Miami – Friday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Game 5 in Denver- Monday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Game 6 in Miami – Thursday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Game 7 in Denver – Sunday, June 18 at 6 p.m.