Tim McMahonESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Los Angeles — Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks got a premature exit in Saturday’s Game 3 loss to pressure the Bears below the belt.
Brooks was called for a Blunt 2 and was hurled just 17 seconds into the second period after he flicked his left hand into LeBron James’ groin as the Los Angeles Lakers star dribbled the ball up the court.
Brooks will not face a suspension or any additional penalty for the foul following a review by the NBA, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league reviews all glaring errors.
It was Brooks’ third ejection of the season, as he matches Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings for the most in 2022-23, including playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Another of Brooks’ games this season was hitting Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell in the groin during a February 2 loss, which also resulted in Brooks being suspended for one game.
It was also Brooks’ second post-season career ejection. He committed the blatant 2 hit of Golden State’s Gary Payton II in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals last season and was suspended by the NBA for the next game.
“I don’t talk,” Brooks told ESPN while standing outside the Grizzlies’ locker room after Saturday’s 111-101 loss.
After the Lakers took a 2-1 lead in the first-round series, Memphis star Ja Morant said he didn’t think Brooks should have been fired but acknowledged concern the NBA might decide to suspend him for Game 4 on Monday.
Joe Dumars, the NBA’s executive vice president and president of Basketball Operations, cited Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green’s status as a “repeating offender” as an important factor in the decision to suspend Green for Game 3 against the Kings.
“With the way they’re treating Dillon, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he was,” Morant said. “I felt like he got kicked out because of previous ejections that had been made in games before. I mean, if you look at the play, he was actually reaching for the ball and showing crossovers. LeBron just went behind the back. Obviously he got hit somewhere where it’s going to be hard.” On the guy. But blatant 1? Well, but the expulsion, I don’t agree with him at all.”
James ignored a question about the possibility of further disciplinary action against Brooks.
“I’m not on that committee,” said James, who reached out to Brooks at the court pre-match and had a few choice words for him.
When asked about the play that led to Brooks’ ejection, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said only, “The officials made a call.”
Brooks has been booed by the Crypto.com Arena crowd since his pre-match routine more than an hour before the insinuation. And he infuriated Lakers fans with his slur aimed at James through the media after the Grizzlies won Game 2 in Memphis on Wednesday.
“I don’t care – he’s old. You know what I mean?” said Brooks, 27, of James, 38. “I was waiting for that. I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got the fourth foul. He should have said that earlier. But I cheat on the Bears. You don’t respect anybody until they come over and give me a 40.”
James scored 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting before Brooks was ejected. James finished with 25 points-of-10-of-20, as well as nine rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.
Brooks scored seven points on 3-of-13 shots in 19 minutes.
“He’s been booed all season, so I don’t think that bothers him at all,” Morant said. “He actually embraces that and loves that. It gives him fuel, very much. It boosts him up.”
“You go out there and play hard, and that’s just Dillon. He’s a great competitor. A lot of these teams, as much as they don’t like him, would love to have him on their team with the energy he brings and what he brings to the table.”
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