Warriors feel ‘recharged' after much-needed All-Star break

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LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors during their 2022-23 championship season played 104 games over eight months, to then travel to Japan three-plus months later, find themselves in boiling hot water over a preseason practice punch and then go 29-29 as the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference going into the NBA All-Star break. 

This team needed a break. Badly. 

And Steve Kerr knows it. 

"I think everybody needed the break," Kerr said Tuesday after Warriors practice. "A lot of guys came in refreshed and recharged today, and we had a really good practice. The break was needed." 

Klay Thompson in particular was all smiles following practice at UCLA as he talked about his reset away from Chase Center. The 33-year-old enjoyed swims in the ocean, hanging out with his parents and nephew, and of course his bulldog Rocco. 

It was everything the Warriors shooting guard needed to rejuvenate. A little basketball was mixed in, too. 

Thompson also made it clear he feels the entire league, not just the Warriors, will benefit from a week-plus away frrom games. An 82-game season is a physical and mental grind for everyone. Add in the fact the Warriors made it to their sixth NBA Finals in an eight-season span, and it's clear why this team required some rest to fill a tank that has been trending towards empty. 

"Incredible," Thompson said when asked how the break was for him personally. "Mentally, physically, spiritually -- it was just everything I ever dreamt of. It was nice, man. Just to have some days to relax, it was really nice." 

Before the break, Thompson had accomplished a major career milestone in completing his first back-to-back since returning last season from two leg injuries that held him out for two season. He hadn't played two straight games in consecutive days since April of 2019. 

Starting with Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena, the Warriors are starting their stretch of their final 24 regular-season game with a back-to-back where they'll travel home Thursday night to face the Houston Rockets on Friday at Chase Center. They only have three back-to-backs left, and Thompson is expected to play in all three, though nothing is guaranteed. 

He isn't the only Warrior whose mind and body needed to take a step away. Kevon Looney is lauded more than anybody for his ability to play every single game and is on pace to play all 82 for the second straight season. But he isn't alone this time. 

Jordan Poole has joined Looney stepping on the court for all 58 of the Warriors' games this season, one season after missing six games a season ago -- all to COVID-19. His break consisted of rest, a whole lot of it. 

"That takes its toll, for sure," Kerr said of Poole's workload. "For Jordan, getting a little time off -- I asked him what he did and he said, 'I just slept.' Getting a lot of sleep was good for him. He came back in good spirits and he's ready to go."

The vibe was heard outside of the Warriors' practice and inside with music blaring and sweat dripping everywhere. Tuesday was all about running up and down the floor, feeling it in their chest and lungs and getting conditioning back. Wednesday will be more of film session to lock in on what's required to make a push up the standings. 

Like a first day of school coming off summer break, though, the Warriors were loud, boisterous and ready to be back with each other. 

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"Energy. Lot of good energy, trash talking," Kerr said. "Everybody's happy to see each other and sharing stories. It took 45 minutes for us to start practice because everybody's getting reacquainted. You want guys to be excited to see one another.

"We got a lot of good stuff ahead of us. Some important games coming up, and plenty left for us to achieve in the season, so we're excited for that."

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