The playoffs are all about matchups — and the Warriors just lost their best defender on Ja Morant.
Morant was a force of nature leading the Grizzlies to a Game 2 win, but Morant scored 44 of his 47 points after Gary Payton II was forced to leave the game following a flagrant foul from Dillon Brooks. Payton was on a breakaway for a transition layup, Brooks tried to go for the block, but he wound up that hit Payton across the head.
GP2 takes a hard fall after getting fouled by Dillon Brooks.
Brooks was given a Flagrant 2 foul and has been ejected from Game 2pic.twitter.com/FPLHkcIkx3
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 4, 2022
Brooks was ejected, but Payton fractured his elbow landing on it after the foul, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. The Warriors did not provide details other than to say Payton would undergo an MRI on Wednesday back in San Francisco.
Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes said that whatever the MRI shows, this will be weeks, not days.
Re: Gary Payton II: Hard to predict a specific return to play timeline for an elbow fracture without knowing the bone involved (radius Vs ulna Vs humerus) or any additonal soft tissue injuries. However, the recovery will likely be measured in weeks, not days.
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) May 4, 2022
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr called out Brooks for the foul, calling it a dirty play. Via Dalton Johnson NBC Sports Bay Area.
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Steve Kerr said after the loss. “And playoff basketball is supposed to be physical, everybody’s going to compete, everybody is 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/career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow…
“He broke the code,” Kerr said. “Dillon Brooks broke the code. That’s how I see it.”
Game 3 in this series is Saturday at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Expect a fired-up Warriors’ crowd to let Brooks know what they think.