espn

Warriors preferred the Clippers: 'There's no nightlife in Utah'

OAKLAND, Calif. -- It's safe to say that the Golden State Warriors were pulling for theLA Clippersto advance past the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Their rooting interest, however, had nothing to do with matchups on the basketball court. Rather, it had everything to do with where they will spend their leisure hours when the second-round series shifts to Games 3 and 4.

Which do they prefer: The nightlife of Salt Lake City, or Los Angeles?

"No comparison. There's no such thing, man," Warriors' forward Matt Barnes told ESPN. "There's no nightlife in Utah. Obviously, as players, you want to be able to have a little bit of a nightlife, but the main focus is winning games. Me personally, I want to get out there because I want to beat the Clippers. That's my former team, and my kids are out there. But as far as nightlife, there's no comparison to nightlife in Utah and L.A."

The Warriors didn't get their wish, as Utah defeated Los Angeles in seven games. Game 1 between the Warriors and Jazz is Tuesday at Oracle Arena. The defending Western Conference champs land in Utah on Friday and depart late Monday night.

"The problem with Utah is that you're just sitting there and your mind is, like, dead, because in L.A., you still got energy for the game," Andre Iguodala said. "Because you're in L.A., you're like, 'Man, this is just the vibe in L.A.' but in Utah, it can kind of lull you to sleep. And then you've slept too long or I'm bored out of my mind and now you got to try to pump yourself up for the game. You know you're in the playoffs and you're supposed to be pumped anyway, but the vibe is just like, 'Man, let's just get out of here.'"

"I'm sure it's probably clubs, but I've never been to one in Utah," Kevin Durant told ESPN. "It's a few restaurants close to the hotel, but you're not scattered out. L.A. is just bigger. That's the only difference. But preparation wise, my approach is the same as in any other city."

Acting head coach Mike Brown has Utah's back.

"See, I disagree," Brown said of Salt Lake City's "boring" perception. "I think if you really want to find something to get into, I don't care where you are, you can find something to get into."

Barnes doesn't know what he'll do with his spare time on the road this series.

"You sit in your room," he said on Sunday. "I think there's an Olive Garden out there and then a Benihana. So you'll definitely be locked in [on the game] all the way. L.A., you have a few more dinner options. You've got the beach right there and the sun, and I got family. I think as players, we're pulling to go to L.A."

Jazz forward Joe Ingles gave a tongue-in-cheek response when asked about the Warriors' comments about Utah's nightlife.

"They can still go to L.A. between games if they want," Ingles said to reporters Monday. "They've got enough money to pay for a jet and go home and come back on game day, so... If they want the entertainment, they can drive to Vegas too if they really want. I'll hire a car for them if they want."

League security officials have termed visiting Salt Lake City as "security heaven." Unlike big markets, security personnel don't have to keep tabs on players as often in smaller cities. And should a player choose to go out, the small city landscapes make it easier for security to survey.

"Right, they can sleep [in Utah]," Barnes said of team security. "They can't rest in L.A. You have to stay on your toes. But this is a team that's been there and done that and know what it takes to win. I don't think you have to worry about us getting in trouble. It's just a preference for us."

Draymond Green has prepared himself appropriately for a Warriors-Jazz bout.

Last week he told ESPN he began eating more red meat to increase his red blood cell count to properly equip his body for the Utah altitude. As far as his nightlife preparation goes, he couldn't care less.

"It's the playoff," he said. "Nobody worried about nightlife during the playoffs."

Iguodala never said he wasn't a fan of Salt Lake City. He mentioned the nice bars, Park City, the unique restaurants, movie theaters and the cleanliness of the town as appealing attributes.

He predicted that their time in the city during this series will be used as more of a bonding period.

"We kind of embrace it like, 'Yo, we got to do something together because it ain't nothing else to do,'" Iguodala said. "So it actually works for us. So that's kind of how that works. Similar to OKC, it's the same way. Matter of fact, I don't think I've ever been to a movie in OKC."

Despite not receiving their favorable destination, there was an acknowledgment that spending four days in Los Angeles might not have been the best scenario while in the midst of trying to reach the Finals for the third consecutive year.

"The challenges in L.A. are obvious," Iguodala said. "Before you know it, it's 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning and you didn't even realize it was that late because there's so much to do. You can do whatever. It doesn't even have to be anything that exerts energy as far as body movement, but mentally you can exert energy because you're interacting with different people. You're out, and then that could lead to trouble."

Stephen Currysaid the playoffs and not "extracurricular" activities need to be the Warriors' focus.

"Guys are disciplined. They know how to handle themselves in whatever city. Obviously, most of the guys here are more familiar with L.A. than Salt Lake City. But at the end of the day, if you're worried about extracurricular during the playoffs and that's your priority, then you got it twisted already. It's a business trip wherever we end up going. We'll be ready," he said.

Related Video
Barnes, Iguodala discuss Utah's nightlife
Barnes, Iguodala discuss Utah's nightlife
Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes say there is no comparison between the nightlife in Utah and Los Angeles.

Steph jokes about what to do in Utah
Steph jokes about what to do in Utah
Steph Curry describes all the activities he can do in Utah, such as snowboarding, when not occupied by basketball during the series against the Jazz.

Barnes' nightlife comments cause for concern?
Barnes' nightlife comments cause for concern?
Ryen Russillo and Will Cain react to Matt Barnes saying the team wanted to play the Clippers instead of the Jazz because of a more vibrant night life in Los Angeles.

Related Topics:
sportsespnutah jazzsalt lake citygolden state warriorsdraymond greenkevin durantla clippersnba playoffsnbamatt barnesandre iguodala
(Copyright ©2017 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.)

Load Comments