The Warriors went 2-2 on their East Coast road trip, meaning that, at 21-11, they’ve clinched a winning road record for the sixth consecutive season.
The trip started in Charlotte, about one week after the All-Star Game also held there. Steph Curry always will be a massive star in his hometown, and one of the biggest crowds of the season waited outside the Warriors’ team hotel.
My seat for away games varies. On this four-game trip, I sat at the scorer’s table for the first two games. It’s the best place to see and hear player interactions. I always notice new things, such as Steph singing along to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” before tip-off.
I also saw Steph and Damion Lee do a warm-up routine where they pretend to sink putts.
In Miami, the game featured more chatter I could hear between the fans and players. Some fans ask for autographs during the game, which doesn’t make sense.
It’s weird to see how emboldened fans are to say rude things to players during games. It’s even more jarring when a kid or a teenager says it when they’re sitting next to their parents.
There’s also some good-natured chatter or trash talk from fans, and the players smile and respond to that.
The Miami game featured the wild buzzer-beater from Dwyane Wade. The players were bummed they lost that way but happy for Wade at the same time.
The second game of the back-to-back was in Orlando. The Magic have a smoke machine, and it happened to be by the Warriors bench. The machine was on nearly until tip-off, clouding the hoop at which the Warriors were shooting.
The Magic outscored the Warriors 33-15 in the fourth quarter. They ran out of gas. People ask me what the locker room is like after a loss, and there were two defeats that stung in Florida. But the locker room is pretty much the same postgame in the regular season. It’s not overly emotional. The guys keep an even-keel.
We stayed over in Orlando for a leisurely morning and an afternoon departure to Philadelphia. It was jarring to go from the mid-70s and sunshine to mid-30s and greyness.
Philly is a great sports town, and the Phillies landing Bryce Harper was evident everywhere. There were welcome billboards and his face on the entrance to subway stops and the jumbotron at Citizens Bank Park.
Ahead of a big game between the Sixers and the Warriors, a Harper interview was on TV in the media room.
I did a pre-game hit with NBC Sports Philadelphia, and I love hearing the questions other places ask about the Warriors. Are they vulnerable? Could this be a playoff matchup? It reminds me how much other teams pay attention to the Warriors and measure themselves against the champs.
The Philly game featured the best national anthem I’ve heard all season, sung by a man named Ron Brooks. This clip of him belting out the song is a couple of seasons old, but it gives you an idea.
The Sixers left nice “welcome back” posters in the locker room for Ron Adams, who coached there, and Willie Green and Andre Iguodala, who played there. Here’s a look at Andre’s poster.
The postgame meal was cheesesteaks. It’s a rule that you can’t leave Philly without eating one. The Dubs were thrilled they left with a W, too, calling it one of their best wins of the season.