Christmas Day recreation vs. Grizzlies has spice even with out Curry

Christmas Day game vs. Grizzlies has spice even without Curry

SAN FRANCISCO — The Christmas Day matchup between the Warriors and Grizzlies isn’t what schedulers envisioned once they drew it up.

These two groups left one another within the ashes of a fiery Western Convention semifinals final Might that included dramatic ejections, ugly flagrant fouls, damaged bones and loads of biting trash discuss. This Grizzlies staff had all of the athleticism, youth and expertise to outrun the Warriors. Finally, the Warriors’ playoff expertise and star energy received out.

It left the viewers wanting extra.

However on this Christmas rematch, the Warriors received’t appear like the staff that received the Western Convention semifinals and in the end the NBA title. A shoulder damage has them with out Steph Curry, the star round which this staff orbits. Plus, the defending champions are limping again residence after an unsightly 1-5 East Coast journey with a disappointing 15-18 total document.

In the meantime, the Grizzlies are close to wholesome with Desmond Bane anticipated to return from a sprained toe. They’re tied for first place within the Western Convention with the Denver Nuggets with a 19-11 document. Unsurprisingly, they’re the betting favorites to win the primetime Christmas matchup on Sunday night on the Chase Heart.

Warriors followers might go for some household time on Christmas as an alternative of sitting down to observe what might be a beatdown. However the budding rivalry and a little bit familiarity from the playoffs might give the Warriors a lift and followers a cause to observe.

“Anytime you play a staff within the playoffs, a rivalry begins to kind,” coach Steve Kerr mentioned. “If you wish to discuss historic rivalry, Lakers, Celtics, whoever else, has a number of playoff collection. There’s loads of respect, and with respect comes the chirping. It’s nice for the followers and each franchises to be within the place that we’re in. They’re on the rise the previous few years and we’re hoping to maintain our run going and it’s an thrilling matchup.”

A budding rivalry might be sufficient to make this recreation value watching. Even with out Curry. Right here’s a glance again at the place these rivalry sparks flew.

Klay Thompson versus Memphis

Basking within the glory and champagne of his fourth NBA title after downing the Boston Celtics, Klay Thompson rehashed a number of of the little motivations that impressed him all through the playoff run. Apparently, the Celtics weren’t the one staff on his thoughts.

A tweet from Grizzlies large Jaren Jackson Jr. nagged at him most. Jackson tweeted ‘power in numbers’ after a Grizzlies regular-season win over the Warriors in March, a perceived dig on the Warriors’ one-time rally cry and slogan. Thompson referred to as out Jackson, not by identify, however by insult.

“There may be this one participant on the Grizzlies who tweeted, ‘Power in numbers’ after they beat us within the common season and it pissed me off a lot,” Thompson mentioned. “I can’t wait to retweet that factor. Frigging bum.

“Going to mock us? Like, you ain’t ever been there earlier than, bro. We been there. We all know what it takes. So to be right here once more: Maintain that. Twitter fingers, are you able to imagine it?

“I’ve obtained a reminiscence like an elephant. I don’t neglect. There have been lots of people kicking us down.”

Damaged codes and elbows

The semifinals kicked off with a little bit Draymond Inexperienced fireplace when he dedicated a tough foul on Brandon Clarke, seeming to pull the Grizzlies ahead to the ground by his jersey whereas the pair had been contesting on the rim. Inexperienced was issued a flagrant 2 foul and ejected, he skipped and taunted the Memphis crowd on his approach to the locker room.

The Warriors wound up profitable Sport 1 by a missed Ja Morant layup on the remaining buzzer. However Memphis upped the physicality in Sport 2. And crossed a line.

Dillon Brooks fouled Gary Payton II from behind so viciously on a breakaway that Payton fell laborious sufficient to fracture his elbow. Kerr mentioned Brooks “broke the code,” an unstated rule that you don’t commit laborious fouls when gamers are in a weak place.

“I don’t know if it was intentional nevertheless it was soiled,” Kerr mentioned then. “There’s a code that gamers comply with. You by no means put a man’s season or profession in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing him throughout the top and in the end fracturing Gary’s elbow.”