SAN FRANCISCO – Klay Thompson shuffled over a sliding Dillon Brooks as he laid on the floor after Thompson drained a 3-pointer. The Warriors star then egged the fans and received a standing ovation from the Chase Center crowd after receiving a technical foul for his celebration over Brooks.

It was a special Christmas Day indeed for the Warriors, who dealt the Memphis Grizzlies a 123-109 loss on national television.

Sunday was the latest chapter in the budding rivalry between these two Western Conference foes. The two met in the play-in tournament in 2021, with Morant’s squad sending Curry & Co. home. The Warriors got their revenge in a feisty Western Conference semifinals in the spring.

But less than a week after Morant told ESPN there was no one in the West that he feared, the Warriors handed it to the Grizzlies.

The Warriors were powered by a 32-point night from Jordan Poole, who received his first career ejection in the fourth, as well as a 23-point showing by Thompson.

The Warriors’ Christmas Day matchup against the Grizzlies Sunday didn’t disappoint. It was chalked full of boisterous celebrations, even as the Warriors played without four players, including two starters.

There was concern as to how the Warriors could replace Stephen Curry’s scoring and gravitational pull as well as Andrew Wiggins’ defensive prowess against the athletic and physical Grizzlies who are near healthy with Desmond Bane playing his second straight game after missing 17 contests with a sprained big toe. But the Warriors, coming off back-to-back 30-plus-point losses, responded big with a win over one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

The Grizzlies opened the game with a statement – Ja Morant feeding a soaring Jaren Jackson Jr. for a thunderous alley-oop after tip-off. But the Warriors quickly responded, gaining the lead.

Poole scored 17 of his team-high 32 points in the opening quarter, fueling a hot start by the reigning champions who limped into this homestand shorthanded and in a fragile mental state, according to Draymond Green.

Golden State built off its four-point lead at the end of the first quarter, jumping out with a 19-8 run to go ahead by 15 points just past the midway point of the second.

But the Grizzlies clawed their way back. Tyus Jones scored six points – including four off free throws – over the final 27 seconds of the half to pull the Grizzlies within five at the break.


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