SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — It’s safe to say there’s a healthy level of mutual respect between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors.
When Steve Kerr was asked in December 2021 about the Grizzlies being a rival to the Warriors, he dismissed the idea and noted that a playoff run and more would have to happen. A little over a year after the playoff series and the Christmas Day matchup, Kerr believes the Grizzlies-Warriors matchup has become a rivalry.
“Memphis is on the rise,” Kerr said after practice Tuesday. “They have a great young team. Obviously, we had a hell of a streak with them last year. There’s been healthy arguments and a bit of competition, so it’s fun when we play them.”
The NBA thinks so too. The Grizzlies (31-16) and Warriors will meet again Wednesday night at 9:00 PM CT on ESPN as part of NBA Rivalry Week coverage that debuts on this season’s schedule.
The Grizzlies and Warriors (23-24) have finished each other’s seasons the last two years. Memphis defeated Golden State in the 2021 NBA playoffs, then the Warriors defeated the Grizzlies in six games in the 2022 Western Conference semifinals.
“The playoff series did it,” Kerr said, referring to the rivalry. “The league put us together on Christmas Day, so the league is looking for that, too.”
With every competition comes a story. The stretch between the Warriors and Grizzlies has several storylines on and off the floor. Andre Iguodala was traded to Memphis and never played a game in a Grizzlies uniform. The move was not appreciated by the Grizzlies players. After the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in the 2022 playoffs, Dillon Brooks reminded people that the Warriors are bigger and Memphis is coming.
“It’s a classic story of a young team trying to knock an aging team off a mountain,” Kerr said. “It makes for a good story and it’s definitely fun to race.”
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