Near the end of an absolute beatdown at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, you’d think the Golden State Warriors would be despondent and in no mood to smile or have fun. They were about to lose 134-95, giving the Grizzlies new life instead of winning their fourth game to end the series.
But instead, with the game firmly out of reach in the fourth quarter and the raucous Grizzlies crowd taunting them with a “Whoop That Trick” chant, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t look miserable. Curry began to nod his head in time with the chant, and Green stood up and waved a towel in rhythm.
Despite enduring the worst loss of any team in the entire 2022 playoffs and being directly taunted by the crowd, Curry and Green were … enjoying the atmosphere?
If you have questions like “Why?” or “How?” or “Come on, are you serious?” here’s why they were able to push the loss aside and have some fun with the crowd.
Curry tried to use ‘Whoop that Trick’ against the Grizzlies
“Whoop that Trick,” a song by rapper and Memphis native Al Kapone, is an anthem for the Grizzlies, usually played near the end of games at the arena. But before the game on Wednesday, Curry tried to use the Grizzlies’ catchphrase against them.
When ESPN’s Kendra Andrews asked Curry what the Warriors’ plan was for what could be their series-clinching game, this is how he responded:
“Whoop that trick. That is our game plan.”
Those were fighting words — words that many Grizzles fans were aware of when they came to FedExForum to watch the game.
Curry, Green make lemonade out of sour, sour lemons
Curry certainly knew that using the Grizzlies’ catchphrase was incendiary, and that the “Whoop That Trick” chant was at least partially directed at him. But he started bopping his head to the chant, and then stood beside a towel-waving Green with a smile on his face. After Green literally danced away, Curry kept smiling, even when Al Kapone — who was at the game and on the mic — shouted “In your face, Steph Curry!”
After the game, both Curry and Green explained what inspired them to enjoy the atmosphere instead of moping about their blowout loss.
“It’s the best. It’s what this whole back-and-forth is about in terms of home court advantage and hostile crowds and you embrace all of that,” Curry said. “It’s fun. When you’re getting smacked, you got to find some fun in it.”
Green was even more complimentary of the crowd at the game, recognizing that the Warriors got demolished and should own that.
“They’re not going to whoop that trick alone, we going to whoop that trick together if we’re going to whoop that trick. One thing I don’t respect is people who only bring it when they win, embrace crowds when you winning. We call those frontrunners. We’re not frontrunners.
“We got our a** kicked, and that’s all right. It happens. […] When you spew it out, you got to be willing to take it and not hide from it, not duck from it, not run from it, embrace it. So I appreciated the crowd tonight, the energy that they brought to the game. If they want to whoop that trick, we’re gonna whoop ’em together.”
That’s a mindset we don’t see often in the NBA (or any sport, really), especially during a playoff game, and it was nice to see players having fun, even in the midst of a 39-point loss. But that brings up an important question: Would Curry and Green be so joyful if they weren’t up 3-2, if the series were tied or the Grizzlies had even pulled ahead? Absolutely 100 percent no, definitely, completely, thoroughly not.
But that’s for a parallel universe to worry about. In this one, the Warriors get another chance to clinch the series in Game 6 on Friday night, and the Grizzlies will dig deep to try and even the series at 3-3 and force a Game 7.