Warriors, Oracle in high gear for conference finals

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Oakland's Oracle Arena displays the Warriors' "Strength in Numbers" slogan on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
Oakland's Oracle Arena displays the Warriors' "Strength in Numbers" slogan on Thursday, May 21, 2015.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Golden State Warriors fans are gearing up with every bit of yellow and blue they can for Thursday night's Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets.

Being at this level means that interest goes up significantly. It takes a lot more to host a finals game than a semifinals game, and now officials at Oracle Arena are working overtime to prepare.

The Warriors haven't made it this far in the playoffs in 39 years, which means arena officials have to do things for the first time since then.

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"Because of the needs of the media and the TV needs, the building needs, everything grows. You just keep expanding," Oracle Arena Director of Operations Anthony Vail said.

Vail handles the logistics at the arena for these games. He said he's working 12 to 16-hour workdays, dealing with the new demands.

He had to create a space for the influx of reporters covering the Western Conference finals.

"We had to move all of our arena equipment that was in this arena that we usually store over here," Vail said.

Vail said he usually has less than 100 reporters and now he has about 500. They work and eat in their area, so Vail has to bring in a lot more food.

VIDEO: Warriors face Rockets in Game 2 of Western Conference finals

ESPN has moved in for this series. Arena officials had to build out a studio inside the arena and surrender a couple hundred parking spaces for their equipment.

"We had to essentially relocate some of our most high-profile guests. We've moved an entire valet lot from this area over to our C lot," Vail said.

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The team is making changes, too. The Warriors started out in these finals a little slow Tuesday night. They came back to win but say they have learned from that game.

"It's always a good feeling when you play like crap and win a game because you know that the next game, if you turn it up a little more, you have a chance of winning again. We've fixed a few things at practice and I think we'll adjust well," Warriors center Andrew Bogut said.

It's that kind of talk that has Vail planning for the next level -- the finals.

Vail will have to give up more parking spaces and build an NBA compound if the team advances, but he says that's OK. "My list just keeps growing. But you know what, my list can grow and grow and grow as long as we keep going and going and going."

Planning ahead is Vail's job. He says that the way this team is playing, he doesn't think that he is jinxing them. After all, they are three wins away from the finals.

Games 3 and 4 will be held in Houston, airing on ABC7's sister network, ESPN.

Our coverage of the NBA finals begins June 4.

Click here for the Golden State Warriors 2015 playoffs schedule. And click here for full coverage on the Warriors.