For Warriors, rest comes at ‘perfect’ time 

click to enlarge Stephen Curry and the Warriors had to jump right from the regular season into the playoffs. But after their first-round sweep, they have some time to reflect on what has been a magical run so far. - MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP file photo
  • Stephen Curry and the Warriors had to jump right from the regular season into the playoffs. But after their first-round sweep, they have some time to reflect on what has been a magical run so far.

OAKLAND — The Monday morning weather may have been 70 degrees and sunny in Oakland, but there was a mild storm brewing, too.

After cementing their place in the NBA's final eight in New Orleans on Saturday, the Warriors got back to work at practice. There was plenty of calm, plenty to celebrate and plenty of new media faces while they wait for the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies-Portland Trail Blazers series.

Amidst it all, perhaps nothing was worth enjoying more than a fleeting moment of rest and reflection ahead of the Western Conference semifinals, a privilege the Warriors weren't allowed given the brief 60 or so hours that separated their regular-season finale and the playoff opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.

"That's what's interesting — it started so quickly," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the scaled-down workout. "We didn't really have a chance to take a deep breath and reflect on winning 67 games. So this is actually our chance. I think this week off is perfect. We can enjoy the fact we're 71-15, look at what a great year it's been and then keep it moving. We have all week to prepare, take a couple days to get our bodies right, think about what we've accomplished and think about what's to come."

In addition to advancing, it was an especially productive weekend for the Warriors on the surface of things, fresh off taking home a championship banner and an individual trophy — only having nothing to do with the Larry O'Brien Trophy or Stephen Curry's potential Most Valuable Player award just yet.

Instead, the spoils went to the Warriors' Santa Cruz affiliate, the newly crowded NBA D-League champs, following Sunday's 109-96 win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and Kerr, who was presented with the Rudy Tomjanovich Award that singles out a coach for his cooperation with the media and fans as well as excellence on the court.

Kerr, of course, is no stranger to the extra postseason glare, having forged his championship mettle with the 1990s Chicago Bulls, setting the bar for media attention ever absurdly high.

"It's different," Kerr said, comparing the two atmospheres. "We had the Michael [Jordan] factor, and there were always a lot of people because he was around. It's such a different climate now. We didn't have social media, which adds a whole different dimension to all this. Obviously, [the Bulls were] kind of a circus. And once the Finals came, it became a global media circus. ... Hopefully, we'll get to know what that feels like."

Draymond Green, meanwhile, the recipient of extra national attention recently himself, refused to take the media's bait Monday, time and again turning down his chances to turn in national sound bites.

Does Green think it's fair national writers still doubt his defensive abilities? "Life ain't fair," he reminded everyone.

Is Green excited that people are seeing him on national TV more? "People have been seeing me all year. We had a lot of national TV games, as many as anyone. ... I think more people are starting to become believers, and that's what you got to do: make a believer out of them."

Is Green the third superstar the Warriors supposedly need to contend for a championship? "I think we got a bunch of guys that can be that [superstar] on any given night. My role is the same as it's been all year."

As for Kerr, he fired off a possible warning for the national media soon to join the party this week, albeit in jest.

"It means I'm being way too nice to you guys," Kerr said, smiling. "I've learned now, and now I know: I've sort of set the bar way too high. So I'm going to lower the bar, and start treating [the media] like crap ... not till next year, though. I have to kind of honor the award [for now]."

For a rare day, anyway, the Warriors could relax and enjoy the moment. By the weekend, it will be an entirely different story.

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Jack Ross

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