Tensions were at an all-time high between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies for Game 2 on May 3.
Just three minutes into the game, the Dubs tried to score their first points with Gary Payton II diving to the basket. Dillon Brooks decided to take matter into his own hands and swiped at Payton’s head, with no intention of going for the ball. Payton took a hard fall and immediately grabbed at his left arm.
The reaction from the Warriors bench were instantaneous. Coach Steve Kerr screamed ‘get the f—- out of here,’ and other players on the Dubs were livid. It was somewhat surprising that Draymond Green or any other teammate did not confront Brooks immediately after.
Brooks was issued a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game. It was telling because the home crowd let out a groan when seeing the replay of Brooks foul on Payton.
Steph Curry said after the game the foul was ‘out of line’ and that the foul was definitely a Flagrant 2. He also expressed remorse that Payton would not be able to capitalize on his opportunity to thrive in this series.
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty…there’s a code that players follow,” Kerr says after the loss. “You never put a guy’s season/career in jeopardy, by taking somebody out midair and clubbing him across the head, and ultimately fracturing his elbow…Dillon Brooks broke that code.”
Gary Payton II Suffers Broken Left Wrist
Prior to the Warriors postgame conference, the team announced that Payton suffered a broken wrist and that an MRI will give a more concrete timetable on his return. This is definitely not the news the Dubs need at this juncture in the playoffs.
Payton II was given the duty of being the primary Ja Morant stopper, as Payton got starts for Game 1 and 2. With Payton now out, the Dubs will have their hands full trying to figure out how to guard Morant.
Morant finished Game 2 with 47 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. He got to the rim at will and the Dubs could not find anyone to stay in front of him.
NBA League Office Will Evaluate Brooks for Further Penalties: Report
Following Game 2, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the NBA will make a decision on Brooks to see if he would suffer more consequences for the ugly flagrant foul.
Brooks is considered to be one of the Grizzlies better hard-nosed defenders. After this play, fans and the media alike will definitely start portraying him as a dirty player.
The play was similar to Milwaukee Bucks Grayson Allen’s hard foul on Chicago Bulls Alex Caruso. Caruso broke his hand after he fell, and Allen was suspended for one game.
Caruso ended up missing over six weeks with the injury. At this point, it is highly unlikely we will see Payton II back in the playoffs this season.