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Can enjoying rival Grizzlies give Warriors wanted motivation proper now?


SAN FRANCISCO — Bear in mind the picture of Klay Thompson hovering over Dillon Brooks and letting him completely have it with Brooks falling to the Chase Heart ground throughout the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ Christmas win over the Memphis Grizzlies? No matter Klay had inside him and seeing out of him in that second is strictly what the Warriors, sitting at 23-24, want proper now.

A Grizzlies return to San Francisco comes on the excellent time, even following a head-shaking loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

“Yeah, for certain,” Steve Kerr mentioned Tuesday after Warriors follow when requested if he can really feel a special vibe when the Warriors play a group just like the Grizzlies with a rising rivalry. “That may assist us. Memphis is on the rise. They have it. Nice younger group.

“Clearly we had a hell of a sequence with them final yr. So there’s been some, you recognize, some wholesome bickering and a bit of little bit of a rivalry, so it is enjoyable.”

The Warriors are the defending champions who’re nonetheless led by 34-year-old Steph Curry, 32-year-old Draymond Inexperienced and Thompson at 32 years previous as nicely. They’re attempting to show although they may not be mild years forward, this season’s flickering mild nonetheless can flip brightest when challenged. In latest historical past, the Grizzlies have introduced the most effective out of them.

From beating the Grizzlies over six video games within the second spherical of the Western Convention playoffs final season to sending them house with a 14-point loss on Christmas with out Curry and Andrew Wiggins, Memphis brings the most effective out of the Warriors. The explanations are apparent. The Grizzlies, led by 23-year-old Ja Morant and a handful of others of their early to mid-20s, need to griddy throughout the Golden Gate Bridge and chortle alongside the best way with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

They’re subsequent. The Warriors imagine till confirmed in any other case on the largest stage, the highest canine nonetheless reside in The Bay. And that is been a part of the story this season, with waves of ups and downs however nothing staying regular.

Looking for that further gear, the Warriors introduced all the pieces that they had of their first contest this season with the Grizzlies. Their power was felt vibrating from the court docket to the rafters after they performed the Boston Celtics for the primary time because the NBA Finals, a 16-point house win following a last-second collapse by the hands of the Utah Jazz. Their Christmas win vs. the Grizzlies began a five-game win streak, all with out Curry and Wiggins.

What jumpstarted the Warriors lastly having the ability to stack wins was an angle. Nothing was left behind. The Warriors grabbed 51 rebounds of their earlier matchup with Memphis. On the time, that was second solely to the 53 rebounds they completed with of their first battle with Boston. Additionally they had six steals and 5 blocks.

Each inch of the ground mattered.

“Simply the power that’s required,” Kerr mentioned Tuesday about what the Warriors can take from their earlier recreation with the Grizzlies. “Once you play in opposition to Memphis, there are actually a giant, athletic group, and all people’s received to rebound. Everyone’s received to hit our bodies. Everyone’s received to dive on the ground for free balls.

“They seem to be a massive, bodily group and past. Now we have to match the power that they create.”

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Coming into Wednesday evening’s conflict, the Warriors are 8-2 at house in opposition to groups with profitable data. Their two losses got here in opposition to the Indiana Pacers, 12-11 on the time and with out a number of high gamers, and Sunday’s loss to the Nets, who had been 28-17 and did not have Kevin Durant. Chase Heart has been greater than house for the Warriors this season. It has been a sanctuary of wins.

However not just lately. Together with dropping a 12-point result in the Nets within the last six minutes, the Warriors now have misplaced 4 straight house video games. These different three losses had been by the hands of the 11-win Detroit Pistons, 15-win Orlando Magic and a Phoenix Suns group that was lacking six of their high gamers and had been losers of six straight video games.

All of these had been ugly losses to groups the Warriors did not present up for. You possibly can wager that will not be the case the second Memphis walks on the court docket. The Grizzlies have misplaced three video games in a row, and the Warriors would love nothing greater than to increase that streak to 4 straight.

“Now we have a bit of historical past within the final couple years,” Wiggins mentioned Tuesday. “It is enjoyable. These are the enjoyable video games, these are the aggressive video games, these are the video games that convey out all that power, all of the momentum, all the pieces.

“It ought to be enjoyable.”

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