OAKLAND – The Warriors resumed practice Monday morning, about 32 hours after landing in Oakland following their series sweep of the Pelicans with a Game 4 victory Saturday night in New Orleans.
If that doesn't seem like much of a break, it's not, particularly when the Warriors won't take the court again until Sunday at the soonest.
But the workouts will be light, with the exception of Tuesday and Friday. The team will conduct full scrimmages on those days in hopes of staying sharp. The plan as designed by coach Steve Kerr and his staff makes sense of multiple levels.
Here are at least three reasons:
1) Their first-round series provided Kerr and his assistants a reasonable about of ammunition that could be used this week.
Through their first three games against New Orleans, the Warriors often were the inferior team – at both ends. The Warriors managed to win all three because they rebounded slightly better, summoned decisive spurts at necessary moments and were better in the clutch.
They'll spend some time this week trying to close the holes, some of which were created by the Pelicans – mostly by star forward Anthony Davis – who were a tougher matchup than a wounded Oklahoma City team would have been.
"They pushed us," Kerr said. "I felt we were the better team, but I knew they would make us work for everything. I never thought we weren't going to (win) it. But there were a couple times when I thought, 'At least I think we're going to do this. "Looking back, that was the test. And that's what we needed."
2) Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala could use the break – even more than Andrew Bogut.
Green has not griped about the state of his body, but the ice bags around both shins and his left ankle speak volumes. He sat out a week late in the season to rest his shins. He turned his ankle in Game 1 against New Orleans. That he played as magnificently as he did in the first round is a profile in toughness.
Iguodala said last week that he didn't want to win the Sixth Man of the Year award; he finished fourth in the voting. He said he didn't think he had a very good season. He was at least partly joking, evident when it was pointed out that he had a really good stretch in the weeks after the All-Star break. It wasn't a coincidence that he had been off his achy knees for nine days.
As for Bogut, well, any extended time off always seems to revitalize his body.
3) Much is made about how certain coaches in the NFL are at their best after the bye week, when they've had two weeks to prepare. If that can be applied to the Warriors, they would seem to benefit as much, if not more, than most NBA teams.
This is, remember, Kerr's first year as a coach. As he said in New Orleans, every experience is a first-time experience. But he has two veteran assistants, associate head coach Alvin Gentry (Dr. Offense) and assistant coach Ron Adams (Prof. Defense), who can break down opponents with the best of them.
"It's comforting knowing they've seen it all from a coaching standpoint," Kerr said. "I've seen it all from a player standpoint, but not as a coach. It's great having one on each side, each looking at the game from a different perspective."