Dillon Brooks got chippy with LeBron James during the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers Game 3 matchup this weekend. The 27-year-old got ejected from the game after hitting the four-time NBA MVP in the groin.
The Saturday evening (April 22) face-off was highly anticipated following the Canadian forward’s comments after the Grizzlies’ Game 2 victory on Wednesday. He called King James “old” and said he does not respect his opponents until they can “give him 40.”
Prior to Game 3, the two apparently had a conversation where LeBron told Brooks that he “causes too many problems” and “was fooling around.” As the father of three was walking away, he told Brooks “you ain’t ready for me.”
As the third quarter began, James was dribbling up the court while Brooks guarded him. As the four-time NBA champion attempted a crossover move, Brooks struck him in the groin causing Bron to fall to the ground in pain. Though it is unclear whether the strike was intentional or not, officials conducted a video review and handed Brooks a flagrant 2 foul, which led to an automatic ejection from the game.
The Lakers would go on to win Game 3 111-101, taking a 2-1 series lead. This game also featured the highly anticipated return of Ja Morant, who was sidelined with a hand injury. Ja scored 45 points and added 13 assists and nine rebounds, though it wasn’t enough for the Lakers’ offensive onslaught. Anthony Davis lead the charge with 31 points and 17 rebounds, LeBron added 25 points and 9 rebounds, followed by D’Angelo Russell’s 17 points and Rui Hachimura’s 16 points.
Brooks spoke after the Grizzlies’ practice on Sunday (April 23), saying that he believes public perception played into the decision to eject him on Saturday evening. “The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain, that just creates another persona on me.” Brooks has been the topic of much social media vitriol throughout the season, taking third place in an anonymous players poll gauging who the worst trash talkers in the league were.