Trash discuss heats up in budding rift as Warriors prime Grizzlies

12:53 AM ET Kendra AndrewsESPN SAN FRANCISCO — With 3:43 to go within the fourth…

Trash discuss heats up in budding rift as Warriors prime Grizzlies

SAN FRANCISCO — With 3:43 to go within the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson rose above Dillon Brooks to knock down a 20-foot soar shot to place the Golden State Warriors up 16.

Brooks stumbled backward, falling over within the course of. As Thompson ran again on protection, he leaned over Brooks, facet shuffling thrice whereas sticking his tongue in Brooks’ face.

“Some good, old style trash discuss,” Thompson mentioned. “It is at all times enjoyable to speak trash. We have been doing that since we had been in center college. You normally play your greatest otherwise you get frazzled. For me, it is normally the previous.”

Heading into the Warriors’ Christmas Day 123-109 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, each side had been hesitant to name the connection between them a rivalry.

Positive, they’ve a short historical past: The Grizzlies eradicated the Warriors within the play-in event in 2021, and the Warriors ended Memphis’ season final yr within the Western Convention semifinals. There’s been loads of trash discuss between the 2 groups over the previous a number of months. However there is not sufficient for a full-blown rivalry, they mentioned.

But, their first assembly of this season felt like the subsequent chapter in what’s a really actual (budding) rivalry.

“It is undoubtedly choosing up steam,” Kerr mentioned. “[But] to essentially develop a rivalry, there’s acquired to be a number of playoff collection. Final yr’s collection was actually contested and heated. We all know how good they’re, and we’re attempting to maintain it rolling. They’re attempting to knock us off the mountain.”

A number of days earlier than Christmas, Memphis level guard Ja Morant, 23, instructed ESPN he did not view any staff within the Western Convention as a menace. He named simply the Boston Celtics as standing out as a menace to the Grizzlies’ title aspirations.

Thompson, who scored 24 factors, mentioned he did not see that interview or Morant’s feedback. And in contrast to 10 years in the past, when Thompson, 32, was early in his profession, he mentioned exterior trash discuss would not influence him.

Trash discuss is nothing new between these two groups particularly.

Kerr mentioned the Grizzlies broke the code when Brooks injured Gary Payton II within the Western Convention semifinals. Jaren Jackson Jr. made enjoyable of the Warriors’ “Energy in Numbers” slogan, and Thompson subsequently known as him a “freaking bum” and a “clown.” In June, Morant known as for this Christmas Day matchup on Twitter.

Throughout his postgame interview on ESPN on Sunday, Thompson mentioned, “They had been speaking about dynasty and all of that stuff. You possibly can’t discuss dynasty when you have not received earlier than. … I assumed that was untimely discuss, to even point out that phrase. However they create one of the best out of us, and I believe we do the identical.”

The dynasty remark Thompson was referring to was when Brooks mentioned Memphis was within the technique of constructing a dynasty in March 2022 after their ultimate regular-season assembly.

Sunday’s contest did deliver out one of the best within the Warriors or at the least much better than their earlier two video games — two 30-plus-point losses, on the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, to shut a 1-5 highway journey.

The Warriors’ Jordan Poole scored a team-high 32 factors on 11-of-25 capturing from the sphere and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line earlier than being ejected for choosing up two technical fouls.

Golden State ahead Draymond Inexperienced had what Kerr considers a quintessential Draymond Inexperienced recreation, ending with 13 rebounds, 13 assists and simply three factors. It was Inexperienced’s fifth profession non-points double-double, good for second all time within the class, behind Jason Kidd (25). No different participant has greater than eight.

The Warriors’ Dec. 10 win over the Celtics had an analogous really feel to this one, and the Warriors had mentioned they might use that recreation as a blueprint to information them.

The widespread denominator the Warriors mentioned they see between the Celtics recreation and the one on Christmas is their decision-making. In each video games, the Warriors did not drive photographs or make fast selections that led to errors. And as they navigate the subsequent two weeks (at the least) with out Stephen Curry (shoulder), there may be a fair smaller margin of error.

Nonetheless, there was room for enchancment in opposition to the Grizzlies. Golden State picked up six technical fouls. The ultimate three performs on the finish of the primary half had been a Poole turnover, Thompson fouling a 3-point shooter and a Poole technical foul. Within the fourth quarter, the Warriors picked up 4 totally different fouls — take, private and technical fouls — in two seconds.

Even with these sloppier moments, the Warriors knew they needed — and wanted — to make a press release recreation.

“They’re proficient, we’re proficient, we’re seasoned and we’re attempting to carry these younger bucks off so long as we will,” Thompson mentioned. “It was an excellent evening to ship them a message since you by no means know who you are going to see down the highway. This staff is a possible staff we might play within the playoffs. So every time we play them, there are at all times fireworks.”