SAN FRANCISCO — The feud between the Warriors and the Grizzlies culminated in a celebratory Western Convention Semifinal Christmas rematch on Sunday, wherein the defending champions defeated the Grizzlies 123-109 on nationwide tv.
On an evening crammed with raucous celebrations, Klay Thompson despatched a message to the Grizzlies that the Warriors weren’t going anyplace anytime quickly. Thompson was dominated a technical foul – the sixth in a Warriors recreation – after he taunted Dillon Brooks within the fourth quarter by looming over a Grizzlies ahead and throwing some “old style junk” at him as he lay on the court docket.
“I did not assume it was technically justified, however I forgot concerning the taunt rule,” Thompson mentioned after the win. “It is at all times enjoyable to speak about trash. We have been doing this since we have been in highschool. It is once you both play to your limits otherwise you’re exhausted, which is normally the very first thing for me.”
Sunday marked the newest chapter within the nascent rivalry between the 2 Western Convention adversaries. The 2 met in a play-in event in 2021 when Morant’s group despatched Curry and Co. residence. Within the spring, the Warriors obtained their revenge in a fiery Western Convention semi-final.
However lower than per week after Morant advised ESPN there was nobody within the West he feared, the Warriors turned it over to the Grizzlies.
“You possibly can’t discuss a dynasty should you haven’t received earlier than,” Thompson mentioned in a post-match interview. “I don’t assume folks understood how exhausting it’s. The dedication and sacrifice that it takes.”
Enjoying with out 4 gamers, together with two starters, the Warriors have been secured with a 32-point recreation by Jordan Poole, who obtained his first profession redemption within the fourth, in addition to a 23-point displaying by Thompson.
There was concern about how the Warriors may change Stephen Curry’s offensive firepower in addition to Andrew Wiggins’ defensive prowess in opposition to the athletic and bodily Grizzlies, who’re nearly totally recruited, with Desmond Bain taking part in his second recreation in a row after lacking 17 contests with huge stretch. finger. However the Warriors, after shedding greater than 30 factors in a row, responded with a giant victory over among the finest groups within the Western Convention.
In keeping with Draymond Inexperienced, Pool scored 17 of his group’s 32 factors within the first quarter, giving the reigning champions a powerful begin, who, based on Draymond Inexperienced, made it to the house floor shorthanded and mentally weak.
Golden State prolonged their four-point lead late within the first quarter, taking a 19–8 result in a 15-point lead simply after the center of the second quarter.
However the Grizzlies made it again. Tyus Jones scored six factors, together with 4 free throws, within the final 27 seconds of the half, and the Grizzlies have been 5 behind at halftime.
The Grizzlies started to disintegrate within the third. At one level, the Warriors had 11 unanswered factors. Jordan Poole’s 16-foot basket made it 91-77, forcing Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins to take a timeout. Pool celebrated by operating previous the touchline, yelling and high-five to the followers.
The Grizzlies by no means recovered because the Warriors’ lead prolonged to 18 earlier than the top of the third.
Pool was thrown on the 9:20 mark within the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul of the sport. However his absence did not matter. The Warriors obtained contributions from everybody on the roster. Six Golden State gamers completed in double figures. Donte Di Vincenzo scored a season-high 19 factors, together with 5 triples. Draymond Inexperienced had 13 assists and 13 rebounds.
Ty Jerome scored 12 of his 14 factors within the second half.
Thompson referred to as it an awesome group win, praising everybody’s efforts.
“I am simply pleased with these younger guys for staying prepared and never getting blown away after a tricky journey,” Thompson mentioned. “It was actual group work, it was power in numbers, that is what it actually was.”
In the meantime, Morant led the Grizzlies with 36 factors on 15 of 29 photographs. He additionally had eight assists and 7 rebounds. However nobody else within the Grizzlies actually got here as much as assist him, and Brooks and Tyus Jones every scored 13 factors to change into the subsequent largest contributors.
Golden State want to rebuild their lead forward of an eight-game new 12 months after a nightmarish 1-6 journey. Sunday’s victory was a step in the proper path.
“The best way we performed at present was very inspiring,” mentioned coach Steve Kerr. “I simply challenged the blokes to develop. We’ve got seven residence video games forward of us in a row. We performed nice at residence, however this 12 months we did not decide up plenty of pace. These are form of stops and begins. So it appears like it is time to flip it on.”
The Western Convention remains to be packed, with 5 ½ video games separating the primary and eleventh locations the place Golden State is positioned.
The Warriors improved their document to 12–2 at residence and 16–18 on the season. They may have someday off earlier than returning to the Chase Heart on Tuesday to host the 9-24 Charlotte Hornets.
Wiggins missed his tenth recreation in a row with a thigh pressure he sustained earlier this month.
Wiggins has not performed since Dec. 14, when he scored a season-high 36 factors on 14 of 19 photographs, together with eight triples. Wiggins mentioned on the time that his three-point shot by no means felt higher, however he hasn’t performed since.
The Warriors stay targeted on getting Wiggins again throughout this eight-game residence recreation, although Kerr famous his damage has dragged on longer than anticipated. Warriors director of sports activities medication and performances Dr. Rick Celebrini cautioned in opposition to Wiggins’ untimely return.
“You must watch out with groin accidents,” Kerr mentioned earlier than the sport. “We’re simply attempting to watch out and provides him an additional day or a few days, no matter it takes to get him again. Hopefully he’ll play quickly, however I can not say precisely when that shall be.”
The day after the Warriors confirmed that Curry’s shoulder damage would preserve him out of motion for not less than one other two weeks, the guard expressed hope that he may return as quickly as two weeks have been up, even when he hadn’t began but. contact.
“Hopefully the again works lots sooner than the entrance,” Curry mentioned in a Q2 interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters.