Dillon Brooks feels like his reputation, the media and fans played a role in his ejection during Game 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooks was tossed less than a minute into the second half after he hit Lakers star LeBron James with a low blow. After a review, the officials decided to issue a flagrant 2 to Brooks, ending his night early. The Lakers went on to win 111-101.
Brooks did not want to speak after the game but gave his side of the story on Sunday while speaking to reporters at practice.
“The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain and then that just creates a whole different persona on me,” Brooks said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “So now you think I intended to hit LeBron James in the nuts. I’m playing basketball. I’m a basketball player. So if I intended — and that’s whatever is in the flagrant 2 category — if you think I did that, that means you think I’m that type of person.”
Brooks is not expected to be suspended or face additional punishment for the play, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be [suspended],” Brooks said. “They can’t dictate this series like that. Marc probably had to call that cause of what happened [in Game 3] with James Harden, and that’s just unfair. I get penalized, and I can’t help my team try to make a comeback in the second half.”
Dillon Brooks Had Confrontation With Lakers Star LeBron James
The crowd in Los Angeles was hostile towards Brooks, starting with introductions and warmups. They were overjoyed when he was ejected, in large part because of some comments Brooks made after Game 2 aimed at LeBron James.
“I don’t care — he’s old. You know what I mean?” Brooks said, breaking down a verbal confrontation he had with James. “I was waiting for that. I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul. He should have been saying that earlier on. But I poke bears. I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”
James churned out another big performance in Game 3, registering 25 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. It was his third 20-point-plus game of the series as the Lakers took a 2-1 edge.
LeBron James Not Playing Into Dillon Brooks’ Hand
James has avoided making the trash-talking affair with Brooks a larger issue. He ended his press conference prior to Game 3 ahead of schedule, walking off saying: “I’m not here for the bulls**t. I’m ready to play, and that’s it.”
James has seen it all in his career and has a legendary resume that includes four MVPs and four NBA championships. He doesn’t feel like he has a duty to respond to someone like Brooks.
“I’ve been doing this too long. I’ve made enough statements,” James said. “No. We had an opportunity to come home and play well on our home floor, and we did that. No statement was made. We just wanted to play well and got a win. And we want to try to do that in Game 4, as well. But I don’t need to make statements.”
The Lakers are a 4.5-point favorite for Game 4 at home on Monday.