Grizzlies Wing Breaks Silence on Play That Injured Warriors’ Payton

Gary Payton II Warriors-Wolves

Getty Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II celebrates during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Memphis Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks said he regrets the hard foul that left Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II injured and led to own one-game suspension.

Brooks broke his silence on the play that took place in the opening minutes of Game 2, when he chased down Payton as the Warriors guard went up for a layup attempt, delivering a hard foul that sent Payton crashing to the floor with a broken elbow. Brooks was assessed a flagrant 2 for the play, earning an ejection and a one-game suspension for Game 3.

On the day he is set to return for Game 4, Brooks said he wishes he could take it back.

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Brooks Sorry for Play

Speaking at the Grizzlies’ shootaround ahead of Monday’s Game 4, Brooks said he wishes there was something he could do to change the outcome of the play.

“It’s in the past,” Brooks said, via ESPN. “I didn’t mean for it to hurt somebody. If I were to take it back in a moment, I would. But it’s in the past.”

Brooks also pushed back on the assertion from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr that he “broke the code” by intentionally trying to hurt Payton. Brooks explained that he was just trying to make a play on the ball while running full speed, and Payton adjusted after Brooks had already jumped.

“No reaction,” Brooks said when asked about Kerr’s comments. “I don’t really even know what that means. It’s the playoffs. Every bucket, every possession, every play counts. So I didn’t understand what he meant by that.”


Series Growing Even More Heated

The Warriors-Grizzlies series has been contentious from the outset, with Warriors big man Draymond Green earning an ejection in Game 1 for a hard foul on Brandon Clarke. In the fourth quarter of Game 3, Grizzlies star Ja Morant limped to the locker room after getting tangled with Warriors guard Jordan Poole on a loose ball. Replay showed Poole grabbing Morant’s knee as he reached for the ball, a play that Morant insinuated afterward may have been intentional.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins also hinted that Poole may have intended to hurt Morant.

“We just watched the replay,” Jenkins told reporters after the game. “He was going after a dribble, and Jordan Poole actually grabbed his knee and yanked it, which triggered whatever happened.”

Poole said he was not trying to hurt Morant on the play, and the NBA assessed the play and determined that he would not face any discipline.

The play could turn out to be very costly for the Grizzlies, as Morant is expected to miss Game 4. It’s not clear how long he could be out, but the Warriors do know they’ll be without Payton for quite a while longer. His fractured elbow will take close to a month to heal, the team announced, which means he will only be able to return for the NBA Finals, should the Warriors advance that far.

Brooks said he anticipates a very chilly welcome from the Chase Center crowd on Monday night.

“I like getting booed,” he said. “I like guys against me. It gets me going even more.”

READ NEXT: Steph Curry Gets Honest About His Long-Term Future With the Warriors

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