Steve Kerr: Dillon Brooks 'Broke the Code' on Play That Injured Gary Payton II

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2022

Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) fouls Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II (0) in the first half during Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. Brooks was ejected from the game as a result of the foul. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had some strong opinions on the play by Memphis Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks that resulted in an injury to Warriors guard Gary Payton II early in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series Tuesday.

Kerr said Brooks "broke the code" by committing a play so dangerous that it put Payton on the shelf:

95.7 The Game @957thegame

Steve Kerr goes in on Dillon Brooks for what Kerr called a dirty play that “broke the code” between players where you never put a players season/career in jeopardy. <a href="https://t.co/FMFVuzm0lg">pic.twitter.com/FMFVuzm0lg</a>

The play in question occurred about three minutes into the game and saw Brooks whack Payton in the head while he was going up for a layup:

TSN @TSN_Sports

After review, Dillon Brooks has been assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for this play on Gary Payton. His night is over.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/2WQLOL5qJn">pic.twitter.com/2WQLOL5qJn</a>

Brooks was assessed a flagrant-2 foul and ejected, while Payton suffered a broken left elbow on the fall.

Memphis won the game 106-101 and evened the series at 1-1.

Superstar Warriors guard Stephen Curry also made his feelings known regarding Brooks' hard foul.

"It was kind of out of line in terms of a defenseless player going up for the layup and taking a huge windup," Curry said. "Everything bad that could have happened in that situation did. Knocked him out of the game. ... Talk about flagrant-2s, it was definitely one of those."

As a result of the play, both teams lost key players for the remainder of the game, but Memphis overcame Brooks' absence best.

While injuries limited Brooks to 32 games during the regular season, he was the Grizzlies' second-leading scorer, averaging 18.4 points per contest.

With Brooks out, Ja Morant scored a game-high 47 points. Only three other Grizzlies players scored in double figures, and the second-leading scorer was Ziaire Williams with 14 points.

Payton isn't often talked about because of the presence of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and others in Golden State, but he has been integral to the team's success this season.

The son of Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton is perhaps the Warriors' best defender and led the team with 1.4 steals per game. He also set career highs with 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest.

With Payton out, Jonathan Kuminga and Damion Lee saw a slight bump in minutes, while Curry, Thompson and Wiggins all played at least 38 minutes.

As of Wednesday morning, it was unclear when or if Payton would return this postseason and whether Brooks would be suspended for the foul.

Game 3 between the Warriors and Grizzlies will take place Saturday at the Chase Center in San Francisco.