These days, plenty of NBA fans lament the lack of great rivalries in the league, although it has been a common criticism across multiple eras.
However, there is a very good budding rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, who met in a physical and chippy six-game series in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
In a recent matchup this season between the two squads, the chippiness continued.
NBA analyst Marc J. Spears says the rivalry between the two teams is the best the league has to offer right now.
“[Grizzlies vs. Warriors] is the best rivalry in the NBA, period.”
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 20, 2023
One of the qualities of a true rivalry in sports is bad blood between two teams, and this one certainly has that.
In last year’s playoff matchup, Brooks committed a flagrant 2 foul when he hit Golden State guard Gary Payton II hard during a fast-break layup attempt.
Brooks was ejected and suspended for one game afterward, while Payton injured his elbow as a result and wasn’t able to play until his team reached the NBA Finals a month later.
Because of incidents like that one, the Grizzlies are earning a reputation as a dirty team, especially after Ja Morant’s Instagram Live gun incident that resulted in a long suspension.
They were the NBA’s hottest team in January, but after their 11-game winning streak was snapped, they have struggled and have fallen from second place to third place in the Western Conference.
The Warriors have had their struggles as well this season, which could make for two desperate teams should they meet in the postseason again.NEXT: NBA Fans React To What Former Teammate Said About LeBron James