Warriors-Grizzlies: Timeline of four-year-old rivalry

The Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies convey out the very best, or generally the worst, in one another.

It’s a rivalry that is usually one-sided however nonetheless strong in starpower with Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Dillon Brooks going head-to-head. The chirping on and off the courtroom has helped make it one of many chippiest rivalries within the NBA.

The dangerous blood has supplied fodder for some thrilling basketball video games, however how did we get right here? The rift between these two squads has spanned 4 seasons — and all of it begins with Andre Iguodala.

The rookies vs. the vet

In July 2019, Memphis acquired Iguodala in a commerce with Golden State. The Warriors wanted to clear cap area for a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell after Kevin Durant headed to the Brooklyn Nets.

But the 2015 NBA Finals MVP by no means reported to coaching camp or expressed curiosity in suiting up for Memphis. “It’s been a blessing in disguise … I think it’s added some years to my career,” Iguodala stated of sitting out on “First Take” in January 2020.

The following month, Memphis agreed to a take care of the Miami Heat that despatched Iggy to South Beach. But earlier than that, Grizzlies gamers expressed their displeasure with Iguodala’s temporary tenure as their teammate.

“First time I seen him was on TV talking about us,” Brooks stated. “It doesn’t even matter. Andre Iguodala is a great player. I feel like he’s doing the right thing for his career, but we don’t really care. It’s not a distraction at all. I laugh at that type of stuff. A guy that’s on our team that doesn’t want to be on our team, I can’t wait ’til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him what really Memphis is about.”

Fate of the 8-seed

As luck would have it, the Grizzlies and Warriors confronted off for the 8-seed within the regular-season finale.

Golden State led 55-49 at halftime, then Stephen Curry & Co. exploded within the third quarter and prolonged their result in 86-69. Brooks began the fourth quarter on an eight-point run that closed the hole to 86-77. He stayed scorching within the closing body and transformed a game-tying three-point play with 6:32 remaining. Shortly thereafter, Green drew Brooks’ sixth foul, which despatched him to the bench for the ultimate 6:12.

The Warriors went on to win 113-101, however due to the NBA’s introduction of its play-in event, it did not take lengthy for these groups to fulfill once more.

Five days later, the rematch went to extra time.

Memphis had a 10-point benefit with 3:36 remaining, however clutch free throw capturing from Jordan Poole and Curry mixed with well timed layups by Green and Andrew Wiggins despatched the sport to additional minutes.

The Grizzlies earned the No. 8 seed with the 117-112 win and ended a three-year playoff drought.

Strength in numbers

After he spent the higher a part of two seasons as a bystander within the rivalry, issues got here full circle with Iggy’s return to Golden State for the 2021-22 season.

The Grizzlies went 3-1 within the two groups’ regular-season matchups, and Jaren Jackson Jr. stirred the pot by tweeting the Warriors’ rally phrase after defeating them 123-95 in a sport by which Curry, Thompson and Green didn’t play.

The beef actually rose to prominence when the 2 groups met within the convention semifinals. Game 1 lived as much as the hype, however Green participated in solely half of it due to a second-quarter ejection. Thompson cashed in on a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining that gave the Warriors a one-point edge. Morant missed a last-second layup that might’ve been sufficient to keep away from the 117-116 loss for Memphis.

Broke the code

Game 2 was one other important episode on this tumultuous relationship. Brooks was ejected within the sport’s opening minutes after placing Gary Payton II, who broke his left elbow within the incident.

The Golden State sideline, together with head coach Steve Kerr, considered it as a grimy play.

“Dillon Brooks broke the code,” Kerr stated. “That’s how I see it.”

Whoop that trick

The Warriors entered Game 5 up 3-1, keen to finish the Grizzlies’ playoff run.

Ahead of the potential collection nearer, Curry gave ESPN’s Kendra Andrews some perception on Golden State’s mentality, saying:

“Whoop that trick! That is our game plan.”

“Whoop That Trick” is a tune by Memphis-born rapper Al Kapone — and it served because the Grizzlies’ unofficial anthem that performed in FedExForum throughout late-game moments within the collection.

The Grizzlies responded by placing up a 134-95 thrashing to keep away from elimination.

Steph and Draymond nonetheless appeared to benefit from the second the tune performed, regardless of the big deficit.

The Warriors received Game 6 110-96 to advance to the convention finals, and Memphis was already anticipating their subsequent assembly.

“They know that we’re going to come every single year,” Brooks stated. “We’re young, they’re getting old, so they know we’re coming every single year.”

Strength in numbers, II

Golden State went on to win the NBA Finals, however even on the league’s brightest stage, the Grizzlies nonetheless got here to thoughts.

“Strength in numbers is alive and well,” Thompson stated after successful the championship. “There was this one player on the Grizzlies [Jaren Jackson Jr.] who tweeted ‘Strength in numbers’ after they beat us in the regular season, and it pissed me off so much. I can’t wait to retweet that thing. Freakin’ bum. I had to watch that. I’m like, ‘This freakin’ clown.’ Sorry, that memory just popped up. Going to mock us? You ain’t ever been there before. We’ve been there before, we know what it takes. So to be here again, hold that.”

Morant did not take the slight at his teammate calmly, and it did not take lengthy for Green to chime in.

Two months later, they continued their offseason Twitter interactions by expressing their delight that the 2 groups had been scheduled to face off as a part of the NBA’s Christmas Day slate.

Fine within the West

Memphis jumped out to a 19-11 report, tied for greatest within the convention. Morant memorably declared that he was “fine in the West” and named the Boston Celtics because the Grizzlies’ solely competitors.

It proved to be fruitful bulletin board materials for Golden State, which received the Christmas Day sport 123-109. Although this matchup wasn’t a nailbiter, the historical past between the groups was obvious as seven technical fouls had been assessed — with the Warriors accounting for six of them.

Their Jan. 26 assembly supplied extra drama with the Warriors’ comeback being capped by Poole’s last-second game-winning layup.

The feeling is mutual

Things heated again up after Brooks candidly shared his disdain for Golden State with ESPN’s Tim Keown.

“I don’t like Draymond at all,” Brooks stated. “I just don’t like Golden State. I don’t like anything to do with them. Draymond talks a lot. Gets away with a lot, too. His game is cool — with Golden State — but if you put him anywhere else, you’re not going to know who Draymond is. He plays with heart, plays hard, knows the ins and outs of their defense. I guess that’s why they like him over there.”

This prompted a response from Green on his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show.”

Brooks and the Grizzlies bought the final phrase (figuratively) after their dominant 131-110 victory on March 9, their first win in opposition to the Warriors this season.

Despite the historical past, Green nonetheless says he would not name Memphis a rival.

“Rivalries are created by you win, I win. Clearly, we’ve won four times, and their organization has zero championships, so I can’t consider that a rivalry,” Green said after the game.

Semantics apart, he cannot deny that the connection is not less than entertaining.