Warriors looking to balance rest and staying sharp entering The Finals


Warriors looking to balance rest and staying sharp entering The Finals

OAKLAND -- Four days ago, after eliminating the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference, the battered Golden State Warriors earned the right to rest. 

The achievement comes with a caveat for a team with seven full days until the NBA Finals: How to balance getting the necessary rest while staying sharp. 

"We all kind of have an understanding of how our body responds and what we need to do and how to also get off your feet," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said following practice Friday afternoon. "Knowing that the rest should work to our advantage once The Finals start." 

The extended break came at an opportune time for the champs, who now have time to dedicate a full training staff to help heal injuries for DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, and Andre Iguodala. As the Warriors wait for a winner to emerge from the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks, they have taken a cautionary approach towards preparation. 

After taking two days off, Golden State resumed practice Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, the Warriors went through a full scrimmage, which included Cousins, who is rehabbing from a torn right quad. Following Saturday's practice, the team will take Sunday off and resume workouts Monday morning with more scrimmages on the horizon. 

"Throughout the scrimmage, you don't have to go 100 percent playoff intensity," Curry said. But you can still focus on the things that help you on win games defensively like rotations and switches. And then offensively, certain play calls we know we're going to run, even though, in our scrimmages, everyone knows what the plays are."

Golden State has been in this position before. Two years ago, after sweeping the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Finals, Golden State had nine days to prepare for the NBA Finals matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they beat in five games. Over the last five years, Golden State has had at least a week break three times. 

"We kind of understand how mentally you want to refresh," Curry said. "I know the playoffs are demanding. So if you have time to reset a little bit, take advantage of it." 

History suggests that rest doesn't necessarily mean success in the NBA Finals.  Teams with at least a one-week rest before Game 1 of the NBA Finals are 14-11 in the series all-time.

"There's no easy answer to it all but you have to scrimmage," Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area. you have to play and that's scary because guys could get hurt."

More than 30 years ago, after dispatching Kerr's Suns in the 1989 Western Conference Finals, Lakers coach Pat Riley, decided to hold a three-day minicamp in a remote area near Santa Babara, Calif to keep his team in peak condition. During the two-a-day sessions, Lakers guard Byron Scott pulled his hamstring. Days after the camp, star guard Magic Johnson pulled his hamstring in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons, missing the rest of the series as Detroit swept the series. 

"Pat Riley is one of the great coaches of all time. How do you handle it? I don't know," Kerr said. "You got to strike a balance, you got to try and keep their conditioning and keep their lungs, but you can't risk injury." 

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With seven days until their next professional game, the Warriors will continue to toe the line between resting and keeping their game up to par for their biggest series of the season. 

"You just got to have fun and compete with it, obviously," Curry said. "You want to stay safe and really it's just to make sure the lungs still work for the Finals."


Andrew Bogut thanks Warriors, Oakland for welcoming him back to team

Andrew Bogut thanks Warriors, Oakland for welcoming him back to team

Andrew Bogut ended his first tenure as a Warrior with sour grapes. His second didn't end with a title like he hoped, though he's certainly thankful. 

The big man thanked the Warriors and the City of Oakland Monday for welcoming him back with open arms. 

Bogut, 34, signed with the Warriors for the rest of the 2019 season on March 6. The center was back in the Bay after last playing for Golden State in the 2015-16 season. 

He signed on with the Warriors after starring for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League in his native Australia. Bogut was named MVP of the league after averaging 11.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in 30 games. 

Bogut played 11 regular-season games for the Warriors this year, averaging 3.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He appeared in 19 playoff games -- starting six of those -- and averaged 2.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over 9.4 minutes per game. 

[RELATED: Dubs congratulate Raptors with full-page newspaper ad]

The veteran former No. 1 overall pick from the 2005 NBA Draft is set to re-join the Sydney Kings for their upcoming season.

NBA mock draft: How Anthony Davis trade affects teams' first-round picks

NBA mock draft: How Anthony Davis trade affects teams' first-round picks

It’s draft time!

With the 2019 NBA Draft just days away, a slightly clearer picture has developed. The top three picks are close to a lock, but with the huge trade over the weekend between the Pelicans and Lakers, the draft board could get very interesting at the No. 4 pick.

Anthony Davis being traded to the Lakers changes the whole league, and yes, the draft as well.

Teams are wrapping up their last draft workouts early this week and then they’ll enter the war room phase of the offseason.

[RELATED: Warriors have intriguing options at pick No. 28]

There are a handful of teams with multiple picks and it should be an active evening as teams prep for what lies ahead this summer.