The Golden State Warriors were up 3-1 heading into Wednesday night’s Game 5. Looking to close out the young Memphis Grizzlies in their best-of-seven western conference semifinals series. The three-time champion Warriors were so confident of victory when asked by ESPN’s Kendra Andrews what the game plan was for the night, their two-time MVP Steph Curry responded “whoop that trick.” The Warriors were blown off the floor 134-95 and now face a dicey game 6 back in San Francisco on Friday.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) May 11, 2022
Of course Curry was making reference to the Grizzlies’ “unofficial” team song “Whoop That Trick” written by Memphis rapper Al Kapone, and immortalized by the actor Terrence Howard in the movie “Hustle & Flow.”
The Grizzlies’ in-arena DJ at the FedExForum, aka the “Grindhouse,” has been playing that song as an anthem and rallying cry for the home team since the playoffs in 2013.
Curry had to know it would come back on him and the Warriors if they didn’t win this game. The Warriors never led the entire game, the closest it got was 24-23 with 3:30 to go in the first quarter. From then on it was on onslaught.
Grizzlies led by 10 at the end of the first. By 27 at halftime. The lead ballooned to 55 at one point in the third. By that point acting Warriors head coach Mike Brown subbed out all the starters as the game was over.
During a timeout in that third quarter, sensing the inevitable and no doubt wanting to stick it to Curry, the familiar sounds of the synthesized drum beat came up over the arena speakers and the capacity crowd in unison, along with the Grizzlies’ dance team began to sing and dance with tremendous fervor to “Whoop That Trick.” The towels were waving, it was a sea of blue and gold.
Grizzlies dance crew singing “Whoop that trick!” in Stephen Curry’s face during Game 5 timeout pic.twitter.com/yxeeCBrHvk
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 12, 2022
Curry could only laugh. He knew this was a possibility if they lost the game. He wouldn’t have said it otherwise. He and the Warriors likely didn’t think they’d suffer a beatdown like that.
Draymond Green took it all in stride. Waving his towel and dancing along with the crowd.
At the end of the day, the Warriors still have two games remaining to win one. But their attitude and approach will have to change if they want to eliminate this young, hungry Grizzlies team.
.@stephenasmith kept it 💯 about the Warriors’ loss to the Grizzlies.
“That was one of the greatest ass whippings I’ve ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/A6EMvFBOD5
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 12, 2022
Yes, the Warriors have all the championship and playoff experience. But the Grizzlies ar getting experience as the playoffs progress.
After losing their best player Ja Morant and suffering that heartbreaking loss in Game 4, where they controlled the game for 46 and a half minutes only to see the Warriors seize the last 90 seconds and the win, it would’ve been very easy for this young and inexperienced team to get rolled in Wednesday night’s game and succumb to the Warriors’ inevitability.
But they battled and came out the aggressor with their backs against the wall in an elimination game. From here on out that’s what the rest of the series is for the Grizzlies.
The experts and #NBATwitter expect the Warriors to win this series. In a sense the young Grizz have nothing to lose.
Come Friday’s Game 6 if they can manage their emotions and the initial Warriors onslaught and keep the game close, it will be the Warriors who will feel the pressure.
As tough and proven as the three-time champs are, they want no part of a Game 7 on the road in the Grindhouse. They would have the emotions of a Game 7 to deal with and the memory of blowing a 3-1 series lead in the playoffs again.