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NBA Rumors: Steph Curry, Warriors vs. Ja Morant, Grizzlies Scheduled for Christmas

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2022

Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies are headed for a Christmas Day rematch following their contentious Western Conference Semifinal series, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Stein reported Saturday the teams are tentatively slotted into one of the biggest days during the NBA's regular season.

The Warriors knocked the Grizzlies out in the semifinals en route to the first title of their dynastic run in 2014-15. The style clash between the two franchises lent a different feel to their head-to-head meetings.

But it wasn't until the 2022 postseason that Golden State and Memphis could be plausibly deemed rivals.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr asserted Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks "broke the code" on a hard foul that resulted in a fractured elbow for Gary Payton II.

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins then questioned Jordan Poole's culpability when Ja Morant suffered a bone bruise in his knee that knocked him out for the series.

The Grizzlies only lost Game 4 by three points without Morant and won Game 5 by 39 points. With Morant healthy, maybe they wind up knocking out the eventual NBA champions.

Warriors star Draymond Green reflected after the series that Memphis' roster "can be really special," per The Athletic's Sam Amick:

"The only thing I can do is give my respect to that team; they earned that. You know, there was a lot of talk in this series of fouls and this and that, and this should be reviewed and that should be reviewed. I think it really started to take away from what was a really great, great, series with two amazing teams."

A war of words continued well after the conference semifinals.

Basking in the Warriors' NBA Finals win, Klay Thompson called Jaren Jackson Jr. a "bum" and a clown" after Jackson mocked the team's "Strength in Numbers" rallying cry earlier in the year.

Warriors on NBCS @NBCSWarriors

"I can't wait to retweet that thing. Freakin' bum."<br><br>Klay's been keeping receipts 🤣 <a href="https://t.co/WJReCAVukK">pic.twitter.com/WJReCAVukK</a>

That prompted a response from Morant, which drew a reply from Green.

Draymond Green @Money23Green

We traded that real estate in <a href="https://twitter.com/JaMorant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaMorant</a> the property value was higher in Boston <a href="https://t.co/X7Du6zSiZF">https://t.co/X7Du6zSiZF</a>

The Grizzlies' swagger was their signature characteristic as they posted the NBA's second-best record (56-26) in 2021-22. That makes them a great foil for a team as accomplished as the Warriors are.

Facing off on Christmas Day is a sign of how important Golden State vs. Memphis has become in a short amount of time.

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