Another chapter of the Golden State-Memphis rivalry was written after the Warriors won the Christmas Day game between the heated adversaries.
Golden State outlasted Memphis 123-119 due to Jordan Poole’s magical 32-point outing helping make Ja Morant’s 36-point effort mute. The win was highlighted by some heated jaw-jacking between the Warriors and Grizzlies, particularly between teammates Klay Thompson (24 points, nine rebounds, four assists) and Draymond Green (13 rebounds, 13 dimes, two blocks, one steal) and Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks.
#NBAXmas was a vibe.@MichelobULTRA || Joy Cam pic.twitter.com/N4sPUkAExM— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 26, 2022
At one point, Thompson hit a mid-range J from the free-throw line to put the Dubs up 16, and while he ran back to play defense, Brooks stumbled backward and fell. Replays showed Thompson leaning over Brooks and sticking his tongue out in Brooks’ face as he shuffled back to the other end of the court.
“Some good, old-fashioned trash talk,” Thompson said per ESPN. “It’s always fun to talk trash. We’ve been doing that since we were in middle school. You usually play your best, or you get frazzled. For me, it’s usually the former.”
Get hype, #DubNation pic.twitter.com/0Ao8iD1njD— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 26, 2022
Although the Warriors and Grizzlies may not call it a rivalry, it’s hard not to call it with all the evidence in front of us. The contention started after the Grizzlies outlasted the Warriors during the 2021 play-in tournament to get a first-round matchup with the Utah Jazz. The following year, the Warriors beat the Grizzlies 4-2 in the second round of the Western Conference semifinals.
That playoff rematch lit the flames of a burgeoning rivalry as Green got ejected in Game 1 for a Flagrant 2 foul on Brandon Clarke, and then he got elbowed in the eye during Game 2.
Brooks earned a one-game suspension for his role Gary Payton II missed extensive time after he fouled Payton hard on a fast break resulting in Payton suffering an elbow injury that knocked him out of 10 postseason games. The damage only seemed to stoke some flames as Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called Brooks out for violating an unwritten code.
From there, the second-round playoff series only got more heated and physical as Golden State tried to prove the old grizzled (no pun intended) vets had some juice left in them and could outlast the young and hungry Grizzlies. Once the series was over and Golden State marched on to win their fourth title in eight seasons, the Warriors, specifically Thompson and Green, took offense to Memphis talking trash and called them out for what they perceived to be disrespectful comments.
Way to bring the energy tonight, #DubNation— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 26, 2022
After the championship parade, Green and Morant had a back-and-forth on Twitter, with both parties declaring their excitement for a primetime Christmas. The anticipation and hype did not fail as the Dubs and Grizzlies put on a show. However, the Grizzlies will have to wait a little longer to exact their revenge after losing on Sunday.