Kendrick Perkins boldly claims Warriors-Grizzlies is NBA’s lone rivalry

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Perk disagrees with Dray, calls Dubs-Grizz NBA’s lone rivalry originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

There is no shortage of emotions and trash talk when the Warriors play the Memphis Grizzlies, but Golden State veteran and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green insists no rivalry exists between the two teams.

He made that opinion crystal clear after the Warriors lost to the Grizzlies on Thursday night at FedExForum, telling reporters, “Clearly we’ve won four times and I think their organization has zero championships, so I can’t consider that a rivalry.”

ESPN analyst and former NBA center Kendrick Perkins vehemently disagrees, and he applauded Green and outspoken Grizzlies guard/forward Dillon Brooks for making “hamburgers” out of their recent beef.

“It’s great for the league because it’s must-see TV,” Perkins said Friday on “First Take.” “… Hell yeah it’s a rivalry, and we have to stop letting Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors try the big brother approach and throwing out their four championships. The definition of a rivalry is the act of competing, meaning every time we see each other, we’re going to go at each other’s heads.

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“And that’s exactly what happens when the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors match up. And not only do they compete, but they don’t like each other, and they have let it be known publicly.”

Leading up to Thursday’s contest between the two Western Conference foes, Brooks and Green engaged in some back-and-forth smack talk — Brooks via an interview with ESPN’s Tim Keown, and Green via his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show.”

Those tensions nearly boiled over onto the court as Brooks and Green came face to face — literally — on Thursday, but the Warriors vet didn’t take the bait and avoided any altercation.

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But the “is it or isn’t it?” question of a rivalry between the Warriors and Grizzlies dates back to last season’s West semifinals, where there was plenty of physicality between the two teams to go along with the trash talk. And ever since, stars on both sides of the court seem to go a little bit harder when they play each other.

“We see what? Emotions! Emotions, and it’s not just one-sided,” Perkins continued, noting that along with Brooks, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., Warriors stars like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry have joined Green in showing passion for the matchup both on and off the court.

“So, right now, when I look at it throughout the league, they are the only rivalry in the NBA today. And, look, I’m not discrediting the [Los Angeles] Lakers and the [Boston] Celtics because of their history … But right now, we already know that when these two teams match up, they don’t like each other and everybody’s going to tune in and watch.”

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RELATED: Brooks issues fiery clap-back to Draymond after Grizzlies’ win

While it’s clear Perkins disagrees with Green’s viewpoint, the Warriors forward isn’t the only one who doesn’t consider it a rivalry. Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who missed Thursday’s game and remains sidelined after posting an off-court video with a gun last week, previously has said he doesn’t view the Warriors as a rival.

The arguments for and against the topic each have valid points, and one thing Perkins said rings especially true: When the Warriors and Grizzlies play each other, it’s certainly must-see TV.

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