As the Golden State Warriors wait to learn who their opponents are for the 2022 NBA Finals—the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will decide that Sunday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals—they've taken a much-needed break.
"We gave our guys two straight days off which is almost unheard of, in playoffs or even just regular-season" Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Sunday. "So it was a great chance to decompress the last couple of days. We won't have a formal practice until tomorrow. It'll be the first day we'll build on our opponent. So I've said it many times: You go to the Finals, it's almost a two-month journey filled with stress and fatigue, so if you can build a little break, it's very meaningful."
The Warriors also have home-court advantage no matter who they play in the Finals, so they won't have to travel for another 11 days.
"To be in our beds for 11 days is very helpful," Kerr added.
While the Celtics and Heat are locked in a war of attrition, the Warriors have had a relatively drama-free run through the playoffs, beating the Denver Nuggets in five games in the first round, the Memphis Grizzlies in six games in the second round and the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors have had some fortune in their run to the Finals, in that they faced a Nuggets team without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., and Ja Morant was unable to play in the final three games of the second-round matchup with a knee injury.
But no team gets to this point without its bumps and bruises, and the Warriors have had their own injury concerns, with Andre Iguodala (neck), Gary Payton II (elbow) and Otto Porter Jr. (foot) each missing at least a part of the Western Conference Finals because of injury.
"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," center Kevon Looney told reporters.
For many of the Warriors, the grind of the playoffs is nothing new. Stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are playing in their sixth Finals, having already won three.
But the Warriors also have a young core in Jordan Poole and rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. For them, the playoff grind is new.
For both groups, getting an extended stay in the Bay Area and a few days of rest has surely been welcomed.