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The NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks for one game following his Flagrant 2 foul on Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II in Tuesday's Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Brooks swiped his arm across Payton's head on a transition layup attempt early in the first quarter of Memphis' 106-101 victory. Officials deemed the foul "unnecessary and excessive," ejecting Brooks from the game. Payton, who took a hard fall, made one of two free throws before exiting the game. He was diagnosed with a fractured left elbow and scheduled for an MRI for more detailed results on Wednesday.
"I don't know if it was intentional, but it was dirty," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. "Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. Everybody's going to compete. Everybody's going to fight for everything, but there's a code in this league. There's a code that players follow, where you never put a guy's season/career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing him across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary's elbow. ... He broke the code. Dillon broke the code. That's how I see it."
Payton is Golden State's best defensive option against Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who scored 44 of his 47 points once the All-Defensive candidate left the game. Payton had held Morant to 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting in more than 100 possessions and 20 minutes of on-ball defense, per the NBA's tracking data.
Brooks was Memphis' second-leading scorer during the regular season, averaging 18.4 points per game.
His ejection was the second in as many games of the series. Warriors star Draymond Green was also assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for hitting Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke across the face and pulling him to the floor by the collar of his jersey late in the first half of Game 1. He was not suspended for Game 2.
Brooks' suspension is just the second issued for a foul committed during the playoffs since Green's infamous punch to LeBron James' groin at the end of Game 4 in the 2016 NBA Finals. That ban was the result of Green accumulating four flagrant-foul points over the course of the playoffs six seasons ago. Then-Washington Wizards wing Kelly Oubre Jr. was suspended for Game 4 of the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals for charging and shoving Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk in retaliation for a moving screen.
Brooks will serve his suspension in Game 3 of their second-round series in Golden State on Saturday.
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