With a whole week to prepare, the Golden State Warriors must sit and wait, as their eventual opponent for the second round has yet to be decided.
The Los Angeles Clippers topped Utah 98-93 Friday night to stretch their own playoff series to a full seven games, so the Warriors will have eight days off before facing their next opponent Tuesday.
While some might see this rare time off as a luxury, Warriors players say they are eager to get back on the floor and continue their championship quest, though while also seeing the value in the extended time of stagnancy.
Warriors starting power forward Draymond Green said after practice Friday:
“You’re excited about it. Just to get that time and rest and, you know, get everybody back as close to 100 (percent) as possible for the next round. But at the same time, you do get antsy to get back on the floor and be back in the rhythm of things,”
Interim head coach Mike Brown also voiced the desire of his players to get back to playing:
“You know, our guys want to get back out there. But in the same breath, I’ve said this earlier, that they’re extremely professional and they’ve got a great feel of what they need to do to keep themselves going in the right direction until the games are starting.”
The issue of rest has been a recurring theme throughout the regular season, and came to a head when the Warriors sat several marquee players during a nationally-televised matchup against the San Antonio Spurs on March 11.
But a clean sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers has given the Dubs and opportunity to do exactly what they were trying to do back in March: Get healthy.
Not to mention, as Brown looks to coach his first playoff series since 2007, this week gives him more than enough time to get ready for the challenges ahead.
“I think it’s been important for us, with Steve going down, giving him less to think about it and just worry about his treatment. And then giving Mike B more time to adjust.”
The Warriors made it clear they have no preference as to who they want to see in the next round, but also that they will be preparing for either team. Brown said that includes watching Game 6 between Utah and Los Angeles:
“Yeah, we’re going to watch it. … I’ll probably watch it at my place because I’m pretty methodical.”
The numbers point to an easier match up against the Clippers, as the Warriors have won 10 straight games against he Los Angeles dating back to the 2014-15 season.
But a playoff series against the Jazz will provide a better tune-up for a Golden State team that many believe are on a collision course with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors were 2-1 against Utah this season, including a 105-99 loss to the Jazz on April 10. It was only the sixth time all season the Warriors scored less than 100 points.