Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Golden State’s star players Steph Curry and Draymond Green were not happy about Memphis forward Dillon Brooks’ flagrant 2 foul that left Gary Payton II with a broken elbow in Tuesday’s 106-101 Game 2 loss.
“I don’t know if it was intentional but it was dirty,” Kerr said after the game in Memphis.
“Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. But there is a code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season [or] career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in midair and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow… He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.”
The league is expected to speak with members of the Warriors and Grizzlies ahead of Game 3 on Saturday to determine if Brooks will be suspended.
“The line is pretty clear,” Kerr said. “You don’t hit on the head when he’s in midair, club him and break his elbow. That’s where the line is.”
With just over nine minutes left in the first quarter, Brooks was chasing down Payton from behind on a fast-break layup when he hit the Warriors guard in the head, and Payton went down hard under the basket. Brooks was ejected after officials reviewed the play, and Kerr was furious.
“Get the f— out of here, Brooks!” the Warriors coach could be heard yelling when the foul occurred.
Payton underwent X-rays on his left elbow after the game, and the Warriors ruled him out, saying the guard suffered a fractured left elbow. He will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
“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.”
JJ Redick called it “a dirty” play on Wednesday’s episode of ESPN’s morning show, “Get Up.”
Payton’s injury came after Green was ejected in Game 1 of the second-round series. The Warriors big man was called for a flagrant 2 foul with under two minutes to go in the first half after he hit Brandon Clarke on the head and grabbed his jersey.
Payton’s absence leaves the Warriors without a vital role player on the defensive end. Payton, who started the first two games of this series, helped to limit Grizzlies leading scorer, Ja Morant — who tied his playoff career high with 47 points in Tuesday’s Game 2 win.
During Tuesday’s loss, Green received stitches on his right eye and returned to the game after taking an elbow to the face from Xavier Tillman in the first quarter.
Kerr said Green was OK, but “was struggling” and “it was really tough” for him when he returned to court.
Green flipped off the Memphis crowd after hearing boos from the crowd and addressed the moment after the game.
“It felt really good to flip [the Grizzlies’ fans] off…I’m assuming the cheers was because they know I’ll get fined, great…I make $25M per year I should be just fine,” he said.
Game 3 of the Warriors-Grizzlies conference semifinals series continues Saturday at Golden State.