Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks Suspended for Play That Injured Warriors' Gary Payton II

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 5, 2022

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

The NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks one game for his flagrant-2 foul on Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Brooks will serve his suspension during Game 3 on Saturday.

Brooks was ejected in the first quarter of his team's 106-101 victory on Tuesday after he hit Payton in the head and knocked his opponent out of the air from behind.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Dillon Brooks ejected after this hard foul on GPII 😳 <a href="https://t.co/SOPdOJFXow">pic.twitter.com/SOPdOJFXow</a>

Payton left the game with an elbow injury that was later diagnosed as a fracture.

Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game that while he didn't think Brooks had any intent to injure another player, he did consider the foul "dirty" and said it went against the unspoken code:

ESPN @espn

Steve Kerr says Dillon Brooks broke the code when he fouled Gary Payton II. <a href="https://t.co/511GCACpqU">pic.twitter.com/511GCACpqU</a>

Stephen Curry struck a similar tone.

"It was kind of out of line in terms of a defenseless player going up for the layup and taking a huge windup," the Warriors star said. "Everything bad that could have happened in that situation did. Knocked him out of the game."

Payton's injury was dispiriting on two fronts.

The 29-year-old was enjoying the best season of his career in which he emerged as a valuable role player for Golden State. The postseason was cementing his big leap.

The Warriors, meanwhile, lost one of their better perimeter defenders. During the regular season, Payton held opponents to 33.0 percent shooting on threes, 2.3 percentage points worse than their usual average, per NBA.com. The gap was even larger (3.8 percent) when he was guarding attempts beyond 15 feet from the hoop.

Draymond Green didn't miss any additional time due to his flagrant-2 foul in the second quarter of Game 1, but that wasn't on the same scale. Brandon Clarke, who was on the receiving end of what the officials called "unnecessary and excessive" contact, didn't suffer a serious injury.

The league ultimately thought additional action was required for Brooks.