OAKLAND — The Warriors aren’t tired anymore.
Two weeks ago, they were dragging and they knew it. Players kept saying how much they needed a break. Now, they’re getting breaks all over the place.
The Warriors haven’t played a game since Friday. And they didn’t practice over the weekend. The players were off Saturday and Sunday.
“Felt good,” Kevin Durant said Monday morning after practice. “Just caught up on some sleep, caught up on some TV. Enjoyed my home. Pretty much all I did.”
“Went to brunch,” Draymond Green said, “and slept on the couch all day. Great.”
“It just felt right,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “With that long of a break, I just felt like giving them the weekend to recharge, rejuvenate and then come in and have a good, long practice today, which we did. With the stretch run coming, it felt like the right thing to do.”
The Warriors have 19 games remaining in the regular season. Ten of those games will be at home. Eight are against teams with losing records. None of the road trips will last longer than two games. And more breaks are coming. The Warriors will be off from March 11 to March 14, and from March 19 to March 23.
“The league has done a good job all year of keeping the bunches of games out of the schedule,” Kerr said. “Seems like we have a game every other day, which is nice.”
This season, the NBA spread out its games by starting the schedule one week earlier than last season. Now, teams have more rest. They no longer play four games in five nights.
“You definitely feel it,” Green said. “To have three days off right now, it’s huge. It keeps guys fresh.
“And it’s showing up in the play. I’m not saying that’s why so many teams are playing well, but there’s something to say for guys being fresher. Guys can put more effort on the floor, which is better for the fans, better for us as players, it’s better for the league as a whole.”
Ever since the All Star break, which lasted six days, the Warriors have been fresh. And they haven’t lost. Their record is 5-0.
Can they run the table and win their remaining 19 games?
“That should always be your goal,” Green said, “to win every time you step on the floor, and continue to get better. Yeah, I think it’s a realistic goal.”
The Warriors may need to run the table. And even if they do, they still may not secure the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Warriors currently are the No. 2 seed — half a game behind the Houston Rockets, who have won 15 games in a row. Have not lost since Jan. 26.
Beneath the Rockets and Warriors in the standings, eight teams are competing for six playoffs spots and separated by only four games. Seeding changes drastically every day.
“One day you’ve got a team in third,” Green said. “Then they lose, and they’re in seventh. That’s crazy. I’m definitely following it. It’s just fun to watch and keep up with.”