After four consecutive Finals against the Cavaliers, the Warriors know the city of Cleveland all too well. The local restaurants, the hotels and even the smell of the locker room. That’s why, while the NBA is fascinated with the first ever Finals game outside of the US, for the Warriors, facing off against Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.
Reporter Kerith Burke is a staple in NBC Sports Bay Area’s coverage of the back-to-back champion Warriors. We went into enemy territory to look at the Raptors from the other side on Media Day:
Being in Toronto, and being in this bubble, it’s kind of hard to get a feel for what people are thinking in Oakland. Are they intimidated? Are they just happy to not play the Cavs?
I know it was the regular season, I know it was early, but the Warriors remember the Raptors beat them twice. They remember that they came to Oracle and beat them by 20 without Kawhi. So you kind of put that in a compartment, regular season vs. postseason, and I think you’re kind of hearing a lot of the respect the Warriors have with the Raptors. The players are talking on the podium, like, ‘they’re the best team in the East’. Steph Curry said for the past four years he could see they were rising and now it’s their moment to be in the Finals.
What’s your stance on Drake?
(Laughs) I mean think it’s kinda awkward when he’s giving Nick Nurse a little shoulder rub. Just that moment. The touchy-feely stuff. It’s a little strange to me.
Rap battle. E40 or Drake. Who do you think’s winni-
E40! I won’t even let you finish your sentence. It’s E40.
It’s your second year covering the Warriors and seeing this rise. Here, we’re certainly not used to seeing all this attention. What’s it like, from your perspective, seeing this circus with all these reporters so often?
I’m not ready for it either. It still surprises me. The Warriors are this global phenomenon. You see how much national media is here. When I went abroad in the offseason last year, I went to Vietnam and several countries, and you see guys wearing Steph Curry’s jersey, Draymond Green’s jersey, and it’s just, you see what kind of impact they have across the world. Yeah, it’s their fifth consecutive Finals, and I don’t know if it gets old for them, because they know what to do, if that makes sense. They let their experience carry them through in these moments.
Check out our Twitter feed for more sights & sounds from Media Day at Scotiabank Centre, including quotes from Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.