ESPN – It’s safe to say that the Golden State Warriors were pulling for the LA Clippers to 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.”
Death. Taxes. And stories about Utah nightlife — or lack thereof.
I laughed out loud when I saw this headline because of course we’re talking about the nightlife when it comes to the Jazz. This was even brought up last week in a story about Rudy Gobert.
Matt Barnes talking about the nightlife makes this story 10 times better. We’re talking about MATT BARNES here. His heyday came when he played on the Orlando Magic and tried to psych out Kobe with the inbounds pass. Didn’t work. Then he joined forces with Kobe.
Now, Barnes is a perennial bench rider. It makes perfect sense he’s focused on what he’s doing after the game and on days off between Games 3 and 4 in Utah. He doesn’t have to worry about performing on the court because he knows his best performances left are those on the dance floor with Derek Fisher’s ex-wife.
Barnes would rather be out at a club in LA. Can’t say I blame him. Unfortunately, he’ll be stuck in Salt Lake City, where, yes, even I will admit it, the nightlife is dead depending on the day of the week.
For example, Harry and I went downtown last Thursday in hopes of finding some local folk out and about. Mix it up a bit. We went to about five different bars. All we pretty much dead. Uhhh, ever heard of Thirsty Thursday, Salt Lake City? Best drinking night of the week, IMO. So yes, if Barnes is here on a Thursday, he might be upset.
HOWEVA, Salt Lake does have its moments. Catch it on a happening weekend and Barnes might be pleasantly surprised. Hell, even I’ve been to a club on a Wednesday here once upon a time and it wasn’t too bad (more on that on the pod on Thursday).
Is this an advantage for the Jazz? I have to say yes. Players, especially those on the same wavelength as Barnes, might feel a little out of their element after staying in Utah instead of LA. They’d rather show up to practice the next day a little hungover from the club, but here they might be too sober and frankly, that might throw them off.
Case in point from Andrew Iguodala:
“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,” Iguodala told ESPN. “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.'”
— Downtown SLC (@DowntownSLC) May 1, 2017
Warriors head coach Mike Brown seems to know what’s up, though.
“See, I disagree,” Brown told ESPN 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.”
If you want to find something to get into, you just have to look hard. In a city as big as Salt Lake, that should be doable. Hell, even we found the spots to have fun one night in Laramie. (Strange things happen in Laramie. Don’t forget that.)
Shouldn’t be lost in the fold either that the Warriors are apparently more concerned with partying than winning basketball games. You know, the thing they get paid millions of dollars to try and do.
Here’s to Utah winning games 3 and 4 at home now.