If you weren’t watching last night’s Warriors-Grizzlies game, you missed one of the most physical battles of the season.
Game 2 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals started with a very scary play just 3 minutes into the game.
When the Warriors Gary Payton II found himself with an open drive to the cup, Grizzlies guard Dillion Brook came flying in for an unnecessarily hard foul. Brooks had no real shot at the basketball, and his wind-up smacked Payton in the back of the head. Suspended in mid-air at the time of contact, Payton fell onto his elbow and immediately grasped it in pain.
Brooks was quickly assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game.
Gary Payton II suffered a fractured elbow in GM2 after this foul by Dillon Brooks.
Steve Kerr: “Brooks broke the code.”
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 4, 2022
Of course, it’s hard to watch the play above and not think about what we saw from Grayson Allen on Alex Caruso earlier this season. Both Caruso and Payton were defenseless players in an extremely vulnerable position. While likely neither Brooks nor Allen planned to cause a significant injury, they must understand the risk when they foul in this manner.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski went on to suggest that the NBA will look further into the Brooks situation. Allen received a one-game suspension (I still can’t believe that was all) for his actions in January, so could that act as a baseline?
The NBA will have a decision to make on further punishment for Dillon Brooks, who was ejected for the flagrant 2 foul that led to Payton’s injury. https://t.co/DnQLRJtyJj
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 4, 2022
Meanwhile, only a couple of minutes later, Draymond Green had to exit the game due to catching an elbow to the face from big man Xavier Tillman. Green would later return to the game but not before receiving stitches on a noticeably swollen face.
When he left to head back to the locker room, he had a simple message for Memphis fans.
Draymond with a message on his way to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/ftIvSS00JE
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 4, 2022
Golden State went on to lose 106-101, and the press conference afterward proved to be as captivating as the game itself. Steve Kerr, the former Bulls legend turned head coach, didn’t shy away from calling out Brooks. He called the play “dirty” and said Brooks “broke the code” by attacking a player who was off his two feet.
Steve Kerr calls Dillon Brooks’ Flagrant 2 foul on GP2 “dirty.”
“He broke the code” pic.twitter.com/KNI4GNPpsS
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 4, 2022
Green carried the same energy into his own conversation with reporters, letting them know he would spend thousands of dollars to flip thousand of birds to Grizzlies fans.
Draymond Green on his double bird to the crowd: “You’re gonna boo someone who got elbowed and has blood running down (his) face, you should get flipped off. I’ll take the fine.” pic.twitter.com/a86Fg4j1V6
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 4, 2022
Folks … that was only Game 2. Include this growing beef with the must-watch scoring ability of Stephen Curry and Ja Morant, and this is shaping up to be the best series of the playoffs.
Also, I hope the Bulls have their eye on this series closely because it just goes to show how physical the game can be as we get deeper into the playoffs. Take notes for next year!