“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty… 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. Dillon Brooks broke the code. That’s how I see it.”
That was Warriors coach Steve Kerr calling the flagrant foul from Brooks on Payton in Game 2 dirty, a foul that left Payton with a fractured elbow that will have him out until at least the NBA Finals (if the Warriors make it). The league gave Brooks a one-game suspension.
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
Grizzlies coach Tyler Jenkins pushed back on the idea his team is dirty, speaking to Drew Hill of The Daily Memphian.
“I also wanted to address a narrative out there that was said between Game 1 and Game 2,” Jenkins said. “It was said that we have to play more physical, and the word dirty has been thrown out there. I look at my locker room and I look at our culture and what we exude — we are the furthest thing from dirty. We are competitive. I want that to be squashed pretty quick here. I know words only mean so much right here. We feel for what Payton is going through and that’s not going to change the course of action, but our guys are going to rally and focus on Game 3.”
Three things all can be true at once: 1) That was a dirty hit by Brooks on Payton; 2) Brooks is not a dirty player, that was an isolated incident and not part of a pattern of behavior; 3) The Grizzlies are not a dirty team.
Good players and good teams can have lapses in judgment. Brooks did that and will pay the going price in Adam Silver’s NBA for such actions (the prices were steeper in the David Stern era).
The Grizzlies need to maintain that physicality and intensity in Game 3 Saturday because the Warriors are not going to shoot 18.4% from 3 again this series.