Part-time Grizzlies forward and full-time trolling enthusiast Dillon Brooks was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and automatically ejected from Game 3 of Lakers vs. Grizzlies on Saturday night for hitting LeBron James in the crown jewels just 17 seconds into the second half of the eventual 111-101 loss, and one of the major questions moving forward into Game 4 is whether or not the NBA will suspend Brooks an additional game based on his history of at best skirting the line, and at worst outright dirtiness.
Brooks was suspended for one game in the playoffs last year after hitting Gary Payton II from behind, leading to a fractured elbow for the guard, and has a lengthy history of villainy that most notably includes other nut shots, various feuds with practically every other team in the league, and pushing a cameraman. LeBron was obviously just fine after shaking off the hit to the nether regions, but as we’ve seen with the NBA’s recent punishment of Draymond Green, the league does take past actions into account when making these decisions.
In this situation, though, Brooks will not be suspended. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Sunday that the extent of Brooks’ punishment will be his ejection from Game 3.
Brooks was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and ejected for a a shot to James' groin in Game 3 on Saturday night, but league will not suspend Brooks, sources said. https://t.co/rGWNfv9DJu— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 23, 2023
After Saturday’s game, the Grizzlies, as one would expect, were lobbying for the league to let Brooks play the next game, claiming he was just going for the ball — rather than LeBalls — when the play happened:
Ja Morant on a possible suspension for Dillon Brooks: “With how they treat Dillon, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he is. 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.… pic.twitter.com/d0hPJpTMto— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) April 23, 2023
Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane contends Dillon Brooks didn’t intentionally hurt LeBron James pic.twitter.com/iaP89XlMUn— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 23, 2023
However, as my friend Brian Kamentzky of Locked on Lakers correctly noted...
Of the three balls in the area, the basketball was the furthest away. BK https://t.co/c8Gc35p6Sy— Kamenetzky Brothers (@KamBrothers) April 23, 2023
James declined to argue for a suspension postgame, showing admirable self-control by not begging the NBA to let Brooks play and continue his ongoing, 13-40 brickfest from the field:
LeBron on whether Dillon Brooks should be suspended, "I mean, I don't know. If he's in the lineup, if he's out of the lineup, we've gotta prepare."— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) April 23, 2023
We’ll see if Brooks takes the (hilarious) Green route of leaking that he got an x-ray on his hand to make sure it was ok after hitting James below the belt, but he declined the opportunity to argue his own case on Saturday night, uttering a combination of words he has probably never used before in this specific order when tracked down by Tim MacMahon of ESPN postgame:
Dillon Brooks declined an interview request. “I ain’t talking,” he told me.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 23, 2023
The league’s decision had to be a swift one with Game 4 on Monday. Considering the amount of time he missed during the game, it seemed a safe bet he would not be suspended further, as turned out to be the case.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.