On the walls inside the FedEx Forum, large jerseys are on display with the name of each Grizzlies player’s community group. There’s “Team Slo Mo” for Kyle Anderson, “The Rabb Pack” for Ivan Rabb and “Conley’s Crew” for Mike Conley.
And, because it hasn’t been that long since the trade deadline, JaMychal Green’s “Green’s Grinders” and Garrett Temple’s “Temple’s Tigers” are still on that wall.
Friday was the first game back in Memphis for Green and Temple — and the first game facing the Clippers for Avery Bradley — since a Feb. 7 trade between the teams.
Green found a familiar face in a courtside fan and shared a hug. Members of the Clippers’ security staff chatted up Bradley. Temple and the Grizzlies’ trainers shared some smiles and words before tipoff.
Behind the pleasantries, a competitive fire burned even stronger. Bradley started and scored 17 points while Green and Temple combined for seven off the bench.
“Yesterday, we were going over Memphis, you could hear our guys, they want to win,” coach Doc Rivers said at Friday’s shootaround. “It’s just a competitive thing. Sometimes it’s free agency, sometimes it’s trades, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. You still want to beat your old team.”
Rivers still remembers his first trip back to Atlanta after being traded to the Clippers for three draft picks — even if the game happened more than 26 years ago.
He finished with 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. And he’s still angry because the Clippers lost 97-95 to the Hawks.
“I played well, but I was just really upset we lost the game,” Rivers said. “That’s what it comes down to; at least for me it did. You wanted to beat the team that you were no longer with. … It’s your friends. The guys you know, you want to beat them.”
Parsons back for Grizzlies
Chandler Parsons, once the missing piece to a Western Conference contender, checked into a game for the first time since Oct. 22.
Plagued by injuries since signing a four-year, $95-million contract with Memphis in 2016, Parsons was cleared for five-on-five play in December, but the team preferred him to spend time with the G League affiliate. Parsons balked and instead left the team to continue rehabilitating his left knee.
Parsons scored three points in 19 minutes of Friday’s 112-106 loss to the Clippers. He made only one of seven shots, a three-pointer.
Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the Grizzlies, who are in need of able-bodied players, will play Parsons as long as he’s helping the team win.
Rivers, who has known Parsons since he was playing college basketball at Florida, said the best version of the 30-year-old forward deserved that big contract.
“He knows how to play the game and has a great feel for the game. When he’s healthy, he’s a pretty good basketball player,” Rivers said. “He’s not signing these contracts because of the things he can’t do. People sign him, two or three different times, because of the things he does on the floor.”