Don’t let anyone tell you that rivalries don’t exist in the NBA.
Sure the current rivalries may pale in comparison to the physical and rugged 1990s basketball that older fans love to rave about, but they’re alive and well. Pointing to the “hate” that has brewed over the years between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers is clear evidence of that. The two teams don’t like it each other. They’ve played each other quite equally over the past few years and have had a few instances that scream “rivalry” that have occurred between them.
In an interview with Noah Coslov of Cine Sports, Stephen Curry, point guard of the Golden State Warriors spoke on the rivalry between the two clubs.
“I mean when you play a team four times, and obviously we’re both trying to get to that next level, to do more, to get to that next level in the playoffs, things are gonna get testy, they’re gonna get emotional, it’s gonna be a kinda competitive atmosphere every time we go out there. It’s usually a pretty physical game. We split this regular season. If we see them in the playoffs we like the matchup and it should be a fun series if it happens.”
If the playoffs started today the Clippers, currently the third seed, would face the Warriors, currently the sixth seed, in the first round of the NBA playoffs. As Curry stated above, the two teams have split the season series 2-2, but with the way things have gone this season, the Clippers look to be the superior team.
An interesting take during the interview was Curry’s response when asked what it is about the Clippers that makes the Warriors despise them.
“It may be the style of play. We both like to get up and down. They’re a high-flying bunch as well. It always gets a little testy for sure. We both kinda tasted a little bit of playoffs success in the last couple of years and we both understand we might have to go through each other to get to that next level and you kinda want to set the tone every time your face ‘em.”
That tone Curry speaks of? A bit physical. During this years Christmas Day matchup, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut both reacted physically to Blake Griffin, forcing the referees the eject him (the second technical was rescinded by the league following the game). Griffin called the Warriors’ tactics “cowardly basketball” while head coach Doc Rivers said the Warriors “went to something else”, that something being not apart of basketball.
Even with a history behind it, both teams still shy away from calling each other rivals. In a way they’re right. Neither team has stopped the other from succeeding in the playoffs, eliminating them on their course to win a championship.
“Some people would say this is a rivalry, but I would say no because neither one of us and, I’ll say that again, neither one us has done anything to claim it to be a rivalry,” said Mark Jackson, head coach of the Warriors.
Doc Rivers echoed Jackson’s sentiments on the Warriors-Clippers not yet reaching rivalry stage.
“Both us are trying to become good teams, but neither team has done anything to have a rivalry, yet.”
But to the naked eye of NBA fans, something is there whether either clubs likes to or wants to admit it. If things set up nicely, we’ll be getting an entire series between these two teams. Once one is eliminated, maybe then they’ll ‘fess up and call it like it is: a good ol’ fashioned rivalry.
If you’re looking to get an early jump on Los Angeles Clippers playoff tickets, visit TiqIQ.com