Home News Travel How the Warriors can shed road woes with easier travel to Sacramento

How the Warriors can shed road woes with easier travel to Sacramento

How the Warriors can shed road woes with easier travel to Sacramento

SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors were one of the worst road teams in the NBA this season. But home won’t be far away at any point in their first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings’ fast-paced offense will be its own challenge, but the short 90-mile trek down I-80 stands to weaken the Kings’ home-court advantage. After many playoff series through the years flying across the country to New Orleans, Memphis, Oklahoma City or all three arenas in Texas, the Warriors can enjoy a travel day that only requires a 90-minute bus ride.

“In the playoffs, whenever you can minimize travel, we really appreciate that for sure,” Jordan Poole said.

The Warriors had the worst regular-season road record, 11–30, of any playoff team. Does the road woes subside without all the travel traps?

Poole — in his second career playoff appearance — made clear there’s a significant difference in players’ sleep schedules and physical bodies with easier travel.

A typical travel day through the air requires a 30-minute bus ride to the airport, hours sitting sedentary on the plane and another 30-minute drive to the hotel compounded by truncated body recovery time. Traveling home after road games, the players don’t often land in the Bay Area and get back in their beds until well past 2 am.

“And your (adrenaline) is probably still up from the game,” Poole said. “As opposed to driving 45 minutes (after home games), get home, continue recovery, get sleep and have a couple hours in your day to settle down after the game.”

Lighter travel doesn’t change the team’s practice routine. They’ll bus to Sacramento after Friday’s practice and bus home after Game 2 on Monday.

“But it’s a huge relief not to get on an airplane,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “It’s easier not to cross a timeline. Not to feel any jet lag. Basically just quick trip and back. I guess it’s like for anybody else, you feel better when you don’t have to go on an airplane. That’s the feeling.

Every NBA player has to suffer the physical toll of sitting sedentary in an upright airplane seat, but players can also acknowledge the advantage that avoiding a plane ride might give visiting teams on the road. The Kings will have the same luxury when they come to Chase Center.

But it’s a nice thread to pull for a Warriors team without answers to why they struggled so dramatically on the road this season. Draymond Green acknowledged that heavy travel taxes veteran players’ bodies.


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