SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Memphis Grizzlies star Dillon Brooks has been suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for making “unnecessary and excessive contact” that resulted in a fractured elbow for Golden State’s Gary Payton II in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The league announced the penalty Thursday, so Brooks must sit out Saturday’s Game 3 with the series shifting to Chase Center in San Francisco tied at one game apiece.
Payton was injured with 9:08 left in the first quarter when Brooks clobbered him on the head and the guard fell awkwardly on his left arm. Brooks received a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected. Warriors coach Steve Kerr called it a “dirty” play.
“It’s disappointing. It’s an unfortunate circumstance. Obviously, we’re going to honor the league’s decision, but you know it’s a tough play,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said Thursday in Memphis. “We obviously wish Gary Payton a speedy and healthy recovery. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt. It’s very unfortunate what happened there.”
The Warriors said Thursday that journeyman Payton also sustained ligament and muscle damage on the play that Kerr said “broke the code” of NBA conduct. Payton underwent an MRI exam in the Bay Area on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated again in two weeks.
Jenkins disagreed the play was dirty.
“I know there’s a narrative out there that was said that between Game 1 and Game 2 that we have to play more physical. Obviously, ‘dirty’ has been thrown out there, but I look at my locker room, I look at our culture and what we exude, we’re the furthest thing from dirty,” Jenkins said. “We’re competitive, so I want that to be squashed pretty quick here.”
Asked if he objected to Kerr saying the play was dirty, Jenkins replied, “I said what I said.”
“The word physical and dirty has been thrown around. When I have literally talked to my guys about being physical, it’s about ‘Can we stop giving them 23 second-chance points a game?’” he said. “It has nothing to do with the play that happened in Game 2.”