May 1, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) have words during game one of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports
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The Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies had one of the most spirited playoff series last season. Now, one of the Grizzlies keys to success is using Draymond Green’s words as motivation.
The Golden State Warriors are the reigning, defending, undisputed NBA champions. But throughout their second-round playoff series with the Grizzlies and even beyond, it was clear Memphis irked them.
Their playoff encounter was contentious both on the floor (Dillon Brooks’ poorly-chosen hard foul on Gary Payton II that injured him and the subsequent suspension) and off of it.
Beyond the six-game series victory for Golden State, the Grizzlies held real estate in the Warriors psyche. Klay Thompson brought them up almost a month later after winning it all. And Draymond Green felt the need to call out the Grizzlies again recently, saying on a joint podcast with JJ Redick that Memphis will receive “a reality check” next season.
Warriors give Grizzlies literal bulletin-board material
In the weight room in Memphis, the “reality check” quote from Draymond is written up according to a video posted on social media by Jaren Jackson Jr. Considering the Michigan State connection between the two former Spartans, one would assume some of this is good-natured competitive banter. But the vibes during the Warriors-Grizzlies series in May were not good a majority of the time, and there is a real undertone of the Memphis squad acting over-confident compared to what they have accomplished so far.
The Grizzlies could care less, of course — the chip-on-their-shoulder mentality aligns with their exceptional trash-talking. As one of the most successful young teams in recent NBA history, Memphis is well ahead of schedule after finishing with the second-best record in the NBA last year. Perhaps by sheer gravity and the lack of ways to go ‘up’ (alongside a stronger/healthier Western Conference) the Grizzlies will step ‘back’, at least in terms of wins and losses.
Regardless of record and playoff seeding, whenever the Grizzlies and Warriors square off this season it will be must-see TV.