Grizz’s Brooks: ‘Villain’ label factored into ejection

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LOS ANGELES — Memphis Grizzlies ahead Dillon Brooks believes the notion of him as a “villain” factored into him being known as for a flagrant foul 2 and ejected early within the third quarter of Saturday’s Recreation 3 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brooks, who declined to remark after the sport, defined after Sunday’s observe at USC’s Galen Middle that his left hand putting LeBron James’ groin was an accident as he tried to steal the ball whereas the Lakers star dribbled up the courtroom.

Brooks stated he by no means obtained a proof from referee Marc Davis, the crew chief, for the flagrant 2 name however speculated that his popularity influenced the choice, in addition to Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden being ejected after putting the groin space of Brooklyn Nets ahead Royce O’Neale in Recreation 3 of that sequence.

“The media making me a villain, the followers making me a villain after which that simply creates a complete completely different persona on me,” Brooks stated. “So now you suppose I supposed to hit LeBron James within the nuts. I am taking part in basketball. I am a basketball participant. So if I supposed — and that is no matter is within the flagrant 2 class — for those who suppose I did that, meaning you suppose I am that sort of particular person.”

Brooks will not face a suspension or any extra penalty for the foul following a assessment by the NBA, sources advised ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league critiques all flagrant fouls.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be,” Brooks stated. “They cannot dictate this sequence like that. Marc in all probability needed to name that ‘explanation for what occurred [in Game 3] with James Harden, and that is simply unfair. I get penalized, and I can not assist my group attempt to make a comeback within the second half.”

It was Brooks’ third ejection this season, matching the Boston Celtics‘ Marcus Sensible and the Sacramento Kings’ Malik Monk for essentially the most in 2022-23, together with the playoffs, in line with ESPN Stats & Data analysis. One other of Brooks’ ejections this season was for putting Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell within the groin space throughout a Feb. 2 loss, which additionally resulted in Brooks being suspended for a recreation.

It additionally was the second profession postseason ejection for Brooks. He dedicated a flagrant 2 that injured Golden State’s Gary Payton II in Recreation 2 of final season’s Western Convention semifinals and was suspended by the NBA for the subsequent recreation.

“I have been coping with this [for] two years now,” Brooks stated. “It’s what it’s. The followers can speak s—, no matter they wish to. It does not matter to me. I will preserve taking part in my recreation and get higher and higher each day and so long as my profession goes.”

Brooks welcomed the wrath of Lakers followers with blunt feedback about James after the Grizzlies’ Recreation 2 win, when he had a verbal confrontation with James within the third quarter.

“I do not care — he is previous. You already know what I imply?” Brooks, 27, stated then of the 38-year-old James. “I used to be ready for that. I used to be anticipating him to try this Recreation 4, Recreation 5. He wished to say one thing after I obtained my fourth foul. He ought to have been saying that earlier on. However I poke bears. I do not respect nobody till they arrive and provides me 40.”

Brooks gave transient solutions when requested about his verbal provocation of James after Sunday’s observe. However he positively did not take again any of his phrases.

“Am I saying something that is not details?” Brooks stated.

James, a four-time champion and four-time MVP, has averaged 24.7 factors on 50.8% capturing, 10.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists within the sequence to assist the Lakers take a 2-1 lead. Brooks has struggled offensively within the sequence, averaging 11.3 factors per recreation on 32.5% capturing, together with 5-of-20 from 3-point vary.

Brooks had an particularly poor Recreation 3, going 3-of-13 from the ground because the Lakers schemed defensively to sag off him, and followers booed Brooks each time he touched the ball. He was adamant that the environment had no influence on the poor efficiency by Memphis, which trailed by 26 after the primary quarter, the most important first-quarter deficit in NBA playoff historical past.

“I have been speaking all 12 months,” Brooks stated. “We simply did not hit photographs at the start of the sport.”

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