By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Violent plays are piling up in the NBA Playoffs with Dillon Brooks entering the list.
Brooks, 27, was tabbed with a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from Game 3 of the best-of-seven series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers after striking LeBron James below the belt early in the second half. He attempted to steal the ball but instead hit his opponent in the groin.
The Canadian swingman received the booing treatment from the sellout crowd in crypto.com Arena. Exchanging words with LeBron in Game 2 and afterward calling him ‘old’ fueled the beef expanding into Game 3’s warmups and eventually the ejection. Struggling with 3/13 field goals in Game 3, he finished with seven points, two rebounds, and one steal over 19 minutes.
Brooks declined to comment on his ejection after Game 3. However, Ja Morant apparently thought no-calls in similar situations of the 2023 NBA Playoffs affected the referees.
“With how they treat Dillon, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he is [suspended]. I felt like he was ejected because of past ejections made in games before. If you look at the play, he was actually reaching for the ball on a crossover. LeBron just went behind the back,” he said after scoring 45 points in the losing effort, “Flagrant 1, OK. But ejection, I wouldn’t agree with it at all.”
Poking LeBron James can hurt
The Lakers were in cruise control after outscoring the visitors 35-9 in the first quarter. The lead was reduced to ten points late in the fourth quarter but way after the win and the 2-1 lead in the series was secured for the team coached by Darvin Ham.
“I just think, just the doubt. When trying to express any doubt toward him and the level at which he’s playing at, the way we turned things around over the course of the season. That just puts fire under all of us, especially him,” explained Ham commenting on the building rivalry providing a boost for his player.
“I have been doing this too long. I am not making no statements,” reacted the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a veteran of multiple postseason rivalries over the years.
Game 4 will be played Monday in Los Angeles with the Grizzlies hoping to tie the series before returning to Memphis.
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