Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks has denied any intent to hit LeBron James in the groin area during Game 3, which led to his ejection from the game. Brooks attributed his reputation as a “villain” to the decision by the referees to call it a flagrant 2. The NBA reviewed the incident and Brooks will not face any additional penalty. Brooks has been ejected three times this season, the most by any player.
Brooks explained that he was attempting to steal the ball from James when his hand accidentally hit James’ groin. He expressed his frustration that his reputation was influencing the decision, and cited Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden’s ejection in Game 3 of their series against the Brooklyn Nets as another example.
Brooks welcomed the wrath of Lakers fans after Game 2 when he had a verbal confrontation with James in the third quarter, stating that he “pokes bears” and doesn’t respect anyone until they give him 40 points. James has averaged 24.7 points in the series to help the Lakers take a 2-1 lead.
Despite his poor performance in Game 3, Brooks was adamant that the atmosphere had no impact on the Grizzlies’ poor performance, as they trailed by 26 points after the first quarter, the largest first-quarter deficit in NBA playoff history. Brooks has struggled offensively in the series, averaging 11.3 points per game on 32.5% shooting, including 5-of-20 from 3-point range.
Brooks expressed his frustration at being labelled a “villain” by the media and fans, but said he would continue to play his game and get better. He refused to take back any of his comments about James, stating that he was only speaking facts.
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