Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was assessed a flagrant 2 early in his team’s playoff game against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday evening.
Brooks took a swipe at Warriors guard Gary Payton II as he went up for a lay-up in transition. The swipe caught Payton II clear across the face while he was in mid-air, leading to the guard landing awkwardly on the hardwood. The end result was Brooks being ejected from Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Payton has since been diagnosed with a fractured left elbow and is expected to miss the next three-to-five weeks.
We now have more information on a potential penalty courtesy of the NBA. It’s not great for Dillon Brooks and the Grizzlies, but it’s perhaps less harsh than many were expecting. The Association has suspended Brooks one game for his foul on Payton II — leaving the Grizzlies without their best defender.
There were suggestions that Brooks would indeed be suspended after it was reported following Memphis’ series-tying Game 2 win that Payton had suffered a fractured elbow on the play and is likely lost for the remainder of the postseason.
All of this comes after Warriors star forward Draymond Green was also assessed a flagrant 2 for his hard foul on Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke in Game 1. To say that this has been a physical series would be an understatement.
With that said, the Warriors took exception to Brook’s hard foul following what ended up being another dramatic matchup in what promises to be an epic Round 2 series.
“He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code. That’s how I see it … the line’s pretty clear, you don’t club a guy in the head when he’s in air and break his elbow. That’s where the line is.”Steve Kerr on Dillon Brooks’ foul
Impact of Dillon Brooks’ suspension on Warriors-Grizzlies series
In his fifth season out of Oregon, Brooks remains the Grizzlies top perimeter defender. He has played a vital role in snuffing out any dominance from Warriors star Stephen Curry against Memphis over the past couple seasons. In addition to this, Brooks averaged 18.4 points during the regular season.
With Brooks suspended for Game 3, rookie No. 10 pick Ziaire Williams should play a larger role for Memphis. The Stanford product came off the bench to score 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting from distance in Memphis’ Game 2 win.
While Williams provides more on offense from an officiency standpoint, he’s limited on the defensive end of the court. That could end up being an issue for Memphis given how much both Curry and Klay Thompson have struggled throughout the first two games of the series.
From less of an in-game and matchup standpoint, the hope here is that the Warriors don’t retaliate after Brooks’ dirty foul on Payton II forced the latter from the series.
Once Payton II went down, Ja Morant dominated for the Grizzlies. That included him scoring the team’s final 15 points. Payton was in the starting lineup for the first two games due to his exceptional defense. No one wants to see someone like Mr. Green or a deep bench option commit a hard foul in an attempt to injure Morant.
The first two games are a thing of the past. Sure this is going to be a physical series. But let’s get back to playing actual basketball. With the NBA’s decision to suspend Dillon Brooks, that might be the thought process from the Association.