Warriors thankful for rest heading into NBA Finals

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5: 11 PM ET

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    Kendra AndrewsESPN

SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors have the gift of time as they head into the NBA Finals.

After wrapping up their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks in five games, the Warriors will have exactly one week of rest before Game 1 of the Finals, which tips off Thursday night.

” We gave our guys two consecutive days off, which was almost unheard-of in playoffs or just regular season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated Sunday afternoon. It was a great opportunity to relax after the last few days. Tomorrow will be the first day of formal practice. It will be the first time we have a chance to build on our opponent. It’s been said many times: Going to the Finals is almost a two-month journey full of stress and fatigue. So if you can find a little relief, it’s very important. “

The Warriors took Friday and Saturday off, before they met at Chase Center on Sunday to receive treatment and light exercises. They will continue to practice on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

“Having two days off and a week between when we play, everybody can get their mind right, focus, and get the body back where they want it to get to,” Kevon Looney said.

But Looney said there were also some downsides to such a long time layoff. “Some of the cons are, you know, things like game rhythm and game shape. To stay sharp, you have to make sure that you do all the things you normally do. “

Perhaps the biggest pro from the Warriors’ longer break is the time it’s giving the team’s injured players to work their way back. Andre Iguodala (neck), Gary Payton II (elbow) and Otto Porter Jr. (foot) Each missed part or all of the Western Conference finals. They could be game-changing players at the Finals.

Each of them are making progress and will be able to participate in team practices this week. The Warriors will be able to gauge their availability for the Finals as they return to group activity.

The Warriors hold home-court advantage in the Finals over the Boston Celtics, who defeated the Miami Heat 100-96 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night. Kerr stated that his team had just secured home court against any Eastern Conference team as soon as they beat the Heat in March. It wasn’t something they were aiming for at the time, but it was an added bonus.

” In the last few weeks of the season we were struggling to make it to the end due to injuries to Draymond [Green], and Steph [Curry]. We had some tough stretches there. Kerr stated that we had a lot of wins early that gave us the cushion we needed. “We were conscious of keeping home court as close as possible and we were able finish strongly. “

Home court gives the Warriors another gift in the form of time: They don’t have to even think about getting on a plane for another week. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday June 8.

“To be in our beds for 11 days is very helpful,” Kerr said.

“It’s always special to play at home,” Looney said. It’s so much more relaxing to be able to go about your daily routine, sleep in your bed, prepare at home, and do the things you’re familiar with. It’s much easier to get rid of the jitters at home than it is to be in the middle of the crowd. “

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