One of the marquee matchups this year at Christmas is the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies. The NBA seemingly rewarded the back-and-forth between Ja Morant and Draymond Green with a matchup.
After the Warriors bested the Grizzlies in a testy playoff series, fans were ready for the NBA's next rivalry. Not so fast, Andre Iguodala said on the "Point Forward" podcast:
“Ja loves the lights, and I think you gonna see high-flying action that night. Like I said before, we talked about the motivation that Memphis has coming into the game where they got Draymond’s quotes all over the weight room. I think the Warriors’ squad will be ready, too!”
“It don’t matter what happen in that game. It ain’t no rivalry. Just like the Clippers-Warriors, they can talk about that as rivalry. Got rid of them boys.”
The year before, the Golden State Warriors fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime in the play-in tournament. After the Warriors’ season ended, Steph Curry warned the NBA:
“You don’t wanna see us next year.”
The Warriors and Grizzlies met again last season in the second round of the playoffs. There were plenty of subplots during the series that circled the “breaking the code” hoopla. Dillon Brooks, Gary Payton II, Draymond Green, Brandon Clarke, Jordan Poole and Morant had controversial encounters.
The Bay Area team eventually eliminated the Grizzlies on their way to their fourth title in eight years. If for some reason both teams meet in next year’s playoffs, there could be something brewing. For now, Iggy only sees Memphis’ threat as nothing more than the LA Clippers’ heated games against the Warriors before.
During the Blake Griffin and Chris Paul era of the Clippers, they engaged the Warriors in several testy games, particularly in the 2014 playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs that year, the Warriors and Clippers met in a mouthwatering series.
The Lob City Clippers looked like they would be perennial title contenders behind CP3 and the athletic and imposing duo of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. They beat the Warriors in a slam-bang seven-game series.
The supposed rivalry didn’t pan out as the Bay Area team just thoroughly dominated the NBA, while the Lob City Clippers ultimately disbanded.
Christmas is the first meeting between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies since last season’s playoffs
The NBA sure knows how to build up a game and milk it for whatever it’s worth. Fans have four months to wait before the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies battle.
After Ja Morant and Draymond Green parlayed their trash talk into a heavily-anticipated matchup, the hype couldn’t get any bigger.
The two teams, however, will be somewhat different since the playoffs. Kyle Anderson is now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, while De’Anthony Melton was traded to Philly for Danny Green. Memphis has added a few rookies as reinforcements.
The Warriors, meanwhile, have only gotten richer. They get back James Wiseman and are counting on the steady development of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Although the Warriors lost Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr., they also acquired Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green in free agency.
Golden State will have a healthier Klay Thompson, who will have a full training camp and preseason. Steve Kerr can also expect bigger and better things from Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.