The Memphis Grizzlies have been a thorn in the side to many top Western Conference playoff contenders the past four seasons. The past four playoff runs for Memphis have seen the Grizz face off against Oklahoma City three times, San Antonio twice and the Los Angeles Clippers twice.
Since the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City in the 2008-2009 season, The Grizzlies and Thunder have met a total of 41 times including 22 in the regular season and 19 in the postseason. The Grizzlies hold the lead in the playoffs with 10 wins compared to nine for OKC, but the Thunder hold a 2-1 series edge in the playoffs. Since 2008-2009 regular season, the Thunder hold a 13-9 edge in the series.
There’s no doubt that the Thunder have been a big rival for the Grizzlies, but do fans think they top the list?
Next on the list is the Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis ended up winning the 2013-2014 season series 2-1, but Marc Gasol was injured for one of those games in Memphis. Overall, the Grizzlies and Clippers have met twice in the postseason and have a series record of 1-1 against each other. The Grizzlies however, have taken seven of the 13 games.
Many of these matchups have been heated with Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin going back and forth getting called for multiple technical fouls. One of the most frustrating matchups for both teams was the first matchup during the 2013-2014 season when Tony Allen ended up kicking Clippers PG Chris Paul in the face going up for a layup. Allen ended up getting a flagrant 2 and had to leave the game.
Are the Clippers the Grizzlies biggest rival? Well, there is one more team to look at.
Lastly, we take a look at the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have been the pinnacle of the Western Conference for the last 15 years winning five different Championships dating back to 1999. Fans still wonder how the undervalued ‘Big 3′ of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have fared so well at such an old age. Personally, it all comes down to the genius coaching of Greg Poppovich. He’s done nothing but surround these three with exceptional talent in Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter and may more.
Since 2004, the Spurs have dominated the Grizzlies in the playoffs excluding the one blip on the radar which saw the 2010 Grizzlies defeat the #1 seeded Spurs in 6 games in the opening round of the postseason. The Spurs hold a 10-4 overall record in three postseason series against the Grizzlies, with two of those coming as sweeps.
So once again, the question remains “Who is the Grizzlies’ biggest rival?” I guess my personal hatred for San Antonio would make them the Grizzlies’ #1 rival just because they’ve dominated the overall series between the two teams over the years.
It’s up to the fans to decide which team is the biggest rival for the Grizzlies. So, we invite you to sound off below on who you think the Grizzlies’ biggest rival is.