The Warriors awaited their second-round opponent until yesterday, when the Jazz beat the Clippers. That means Golden State will spend Saturday night in Utah, where Game 3 starts at 6:30 p.m. locally and the rest of the night is free. Safe to say, there’s a difference between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, where the Warriors would’ve been if the Clippers won.
“It’s the playoff,” he said. “Nobody worried about nightlife during the playoffs.”
He might want to check with his teammates on that.
Matt Barnes, via Haynes:
“No comparison. There’s no such thing, man,” Warriors’ forward Matt Barnes told ESPN. “There’s no nightlife in Utah. Obviously as players, you want to be able to have a little bit of a nightlife, but the main focus is winning games. Me personally, I want to get out there because I want to beat the Clippers. That’s my former team and my kids are out there. But as far as nightlife, there’s no comparison to nightlife in Utah and L.A.”
Kevin Durant, via Haynes:
“I’m sure it’s probably clubs, but I’ve never been to one in Utah,” Kevin Durant told ESPN. “It’s a few restaurants close to the hotel, but you’re not scattered out. L.A. is just bigger. That’s the only difference. But preparation wise, my approach is the same as in any other city.”
“The problem with Utah is that you’re just sitting there and your mind is like dead, because in L.A., you still got energy for the game,” Andre Iguodala said. “Because you’re in L.A., you’re like, ‘Man, this is just the vibe in L.A.’ but in Utah, it can kind of lull you to sleep. And then you’ve slept too long or I’m bored out of my mind and now you got to try to pump yourself up for the game. You know you’re in the playoffs and you’re supposed to be pumped anyway, but the vibe is just like, ‘Man, let’s just get out of here.'”
I would love to know the exact question the players were asked. It might change how we view these answers. But Haynes is a responsible reporter, and he framed his article:
It’s safe to say that the Golden State Warriors were pulling for the LA Clippers to advance past the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Their rooting interest, however, had nothing to do with which team would present the stiffest challenge on the basketball court. Rather, it had everything to do with where they will spend their leisure hours when the second-round series shifts to Games 3 and 4.
The Warriors present an image of effortlessly cruising to wins, but they work very hard to prepare. They know when to buckle down and focus.
It’s interesting that two newcomers, Durant and Barnes, are the leading voices in this article. Iguodala also discussed the advantages of playing in low-key Salt Lake City. Durant and Barnes might have been attracted to Golden State to have it all – the partying and the winning – but a heightened commitment is necessary in the playoffs. I wonder whether their teammates will talk to them about that.
The Warriors can still run all over Utah, but there’s now a little more pressure to back it up after this talking.