SALT LAKE CITY -- Earlier this week, Golden State Warriors forwards Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes told ESPN their preference would have been to spend the second round of the playoffs in Los Angeles instead of Salt Lake City.
Utah Jazz fans and the Salt Lake City community didn’t appreciate those remarks, and now that the series has shifted to Utah for Game 3 (8:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC) with the Warriors up 2-0, players were asked after practice Friday how they would spend their downtime in the city during their four-day stay.
“I don’t know about the drink, but definitely a good meal,” Klay Thompson said. “They do have good restaurants here ... I might go see a movie. They got a nice movie theater by the hotel. I don’t know, I’ll find something to do. I always go by the saying, 'Only boring people get bored,' so I’ll find something to do.”
What prompted such outrage was Barnes telling ESPN that Utah had "no nightlife," and Iguodala saying Salt Lake City could cause one to oversleep out of boredom.
Prior to Game 2 on Thursday, Jazz forward Joe Ingles suggested the Warriors take a trip to Las Vegas or Los Angeles in between games to satisfy their nightlife urges. Salt Lake City tourism companies also took exception, tweeting hot spot recommendations to some of the players.
And soon enough, “#nightlife” became a trending tag on social media.
The Jazz organization even jumped in on the action, taking orders for blue T-shirts with "nightlife" on the front and encouraging fans to wear them for Game 3.
Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown says it’s all in good fun.
“What a lot of fun,” he said. “Not only that, the people here in Salt Lake City are making it fun and I’m sure the fans tomorrow night will have a good time with it, so it will be an interesting game because of it.”
Stephen Curry was asked if he thinks his teammates will get too much sleep with there not being enough nightlife.
“Business trip,” he replied sternly, “so we’ll be good to go for tomorrow.” Curry also added: “I know it’ll be loud, and a hostile environment. You got to expect that and stick together as a team.”
Thompson is looking forward to what the crowd has in store for the Warriors.
“It’ll be fun,” he said. “This place has a long history of being rowdy in the playoffs, so I’m excited to experience it. I’ve never been here in the playoffs. I used to watch this team back in the '90s when they had those great runs to the Finals. So I’m excited to play in that atmosphere. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Some Warriors players said they’ll go out to dinner and maybe catch a movie, while others said they’ll just stay in their rooms.
This nightlife subplot has taken on a life of its own, and it will all come to a head on Saturday.
"I expect it to be a hostile environment," Draymond Green said of playing in Utah after Thursday’s victory. "It always is. They cheer pretty loud for their team. Obviously with a few things that went on this past week, it'll probably be a bit [more] hostile. But that’s fine."