MEMPHIS — Dillon Brooks did his best to elicit a reaction out of Draymond Green Thursday night, but the Warriors star wouldn’t bite.
After a week of the two exchanging verbal jabs to add even more fuel to what was already expected to be a hot Western Conference semifinals rematch in Memphis, Brooks saw an opportunity to get in the face of the Warriors player he said he hates the most.
Brooks picked off an ill-advised Warriors’ pass and took it around Green for a finger-roll layup in the final minute of the second quarter. The Grizzlies wing celebrated the basket that put his team up 17 points by bumping into Green and barking in his ear.
Brooks expected Green to talk back more. But Green, who’s one technical foul shy from a suspension, knew there was too much at risk to lose his temper in a moment like that.
“He thought he would bait me like he gets baited,” Green said after the Warriors’ 131-110 collapse. “I get technical fouls when I want to get technical fouls, so I think that’s probably the difference between me and him. One of us are baitable, one of us are not.”
As the dislike amongst these two franchises continues to grow, a feud between two of the NBA’s biggest agitators has formed and another round of insults from both sides came Thursday night.
Brooks recently ripped Green in an ESPN article, saying he doesn’t like him because “Draymond talks a lot. Gets away with a lot, too.”
Green clapped back Wednesday with a five-minute rant on his “Draymond Green Show” podcast, during which he went line-by-line to use Brooks’ words against him. In the process, Green referred to Brooks as a “clown” and “idiot” among other things.
Brooks, who isn’t on social media, learned of Green’s unflattering comments through his teammates. He went back to watch the whole segment later Wednesday night and used it as motivation Thursday.
“It was some funny stuff,” Brooks said after recording 14 points on 15 shots to go with his six assists and four rebounds.
Brooks went on to accuse Green of “using my name to get his podcast up.
“He should at least say thank you,” he scoffed.
Overall, though, Brooks said he wasn’t too upset by Green’s words.
“I know I’m a better player than him. I can do the same stuff that he does, that’s easy,” Brooks said. “The fact he was trying to pin my teammates against me, that’s a low blow. That’s what type of player he is.”
Brooks didn’t stop there.
“These are my guys, we grew it all together. I ain’t out there getting in physical altercations with my teammates,” he said, referencing a preseason incident where Green slugged Jordan Poole in practice. “I sit there and talk to them, try to not break them down but build them up.”
Green didn’t have an opportunity to respond to Brooks’ latest comments, which came after the Warriors had already left for the airport. But he did reject the notion that the Warriors and Grizzlies are a real rivalry.
Kurtenbach: Forget the Grizzlies, the scuffling Warriors have one rival — themselves
Warriors lose in Memphis to go winless on road trip
Kevin Durant injury means he’ll miss another road game vs. Warriors
Jonathan Kuminga suffers ankle injury in warmups, won’t play in Memphis
Klay Thompson urges Warriors to stay present as road struggles continue
“One team has to win, and then the other team has to win, that’s what creates a rivalry,” Green said. “Not because one team gets up for you and talks like they can beat you and does not, that doesn’t create a rivalry. Rivalries are created by you win, I win.”
And just to be sure, he’s not talking about winning game No. 67 in the regular season.
“Anybody can win in March… I have a hard time getting out of my bed in March,” said Green, who made sure to note that he’s won four titles with the Warriors, while the Grizzlies are still searching for their first NBA Finals berth.
Brooks, of course, disagreed.
“When they won the championship, they were talking about us,” Brooks said. “They don’t ever forget who the Memphis Grizzlies are. They get up, they can’t wait to play us.”
The jury might still be out on whether this rivalry is legitimate, but one thing is clear: The Green-Brooks beef won’t be resolved anytime soon.