For most of the James Harden years, it felt like the Houston Rockets were the villains of the Western Conference (and really, the league in general). Led by Harden (“All he does is flop and shoot 3s”) and an unapologetic GM in Daryl Morey (“Call me when Moneyball wins something in the NBA Finals”), the Rockets were easy to dislike for other teams and their fanbases.
So you’ll know that I love how much the Memphis Grizzlies have embraced that identity. Ja Morant is going to dunk on top of you. Dillon Brooks is going to talk trash. Steven Adams (though he’s out tonight) is going to set painful screens. Any team that can rile up the Golden State Warriors is a great team in my eyes. Couple that with a city in Memphis that feeds off that attitude, and you’ve got the recipe for some great playoff atmospheres. Last season, the Grizzlies were punching a bit above their weight class when they ran into the Dubs. We’ll see how they fare this time when the lights get bright.
Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention Jaren Jackson Jr., who did this last night:
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest