Dillon Brooks’ stay in Game 2 wasn’t long as the Memphis Grizzlies forward was ejected for a flagrant foul-2 on Gary Payton II in the first quarter.
Brooks was winding up on a fastbreak by Payton and hit him across the head, which sent Payton to the floor with 9:08 left in the first quarter. The crowd reacted with a loud “oooooh” seeing a replay of the foul while it was being reviewed.
Payton was slow to get up and after the officials reviewed it, Brooks immediately left the Grizzlies bench before FedExForum heard the decision. It was the second time this series a player was ejected for a flagrant foul after Draymond Green was ejected in the second quarter of Game 1.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the play “dirty” during a mid-game interview.
“That wasn’t physical, that was dirty,” Kerr said. “Gary is at the hospital getting X-rays or somewhere back here. Draymond (Green) is getting stitches.”
Green returned to the game after receiving stitches for a right eye laceration.
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The Warriors later announced Payton would not return to the game.
After the contest, Kerr said that Payton had suffered a fractured left elbow and would be having an MRI on Wednesday. The Warriors coach also reiterated his thoughts about the play being “dirty.”
“I don’t know if it was intentional but it was dirty,” Kerr said. “Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. Everybody’s going to compete, everybody’s going to fight for everything. But there’s a code in this league. There’s a code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season-slash-career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing them across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow.
“This is a guy who’s been painting the last six years trying to make it in this league. Finally found a home. Just playing his butt off this year. In the playoffs, this should be the time of his life and a guy comes in , whacks him across the head in mid-air.
“He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code. That’s how I see it.”
The Grizzlies won Game 2 106-101 with Ja Morant going off for 47 points.
You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (@Evan_B) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org