Dillon Brooks’ foul on Gary Payton II, which caused the fracture of the elbow on the outside Warriors, has ignited the spirits and is likely to have decisive consequences on the series.
A race 2 full of controversy and destined to leave its mark for a long time. That of tonight, between Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies that they are playing for access to the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Conference Finals, it was literally a battle. And not only in the slightly provocative terms with which Steph Curry at the end of the first episode, won by the Warriors, and Ja Morant after the 1-1 point, teased each other with healthy trash talking, but also and above all physically, with important repercussions on some of the protagonists on the pitch and potentially decisive consequences for the rest of the series.
That tonight, after Draymond Green’s much-discussed foul in race 1 on Brandon Clarke, sanctioned with a flagrant 2 and which led to his dismissal after 17 minutes, added another chapter which helped to further ignite the spirits of players and coaches.
With not even 3 minutes elapsed in the first quarter and on the score of 8-0 for the Grizzlies, who started very well and pushed by the home crowd, Memphis guard Dillon Brooks, one of the many agonists available to Taylor Jenkins, stopped the winger of the Warriors Gary Payton II launched on the break with a very bad foul that caused the devastating fall on the elbow of the son of “The Glove”, forced to leave the field immediately to receive tests that highlighted a fracture in his left elbow and the almost certainty of the early end of his Playoffs.
A terrible phallus, with one arm pushing the player thrown to the iron and the other hitting him on the headwhich immediately ignited the challenge and cost him the expulsion – again for flagrant 2 – at number 24, Memphis. Followed after a few seconds by an elbow from Xavier Tillman to Draymond Green, forced to go out after the injury caused by the crash. Two episodes that literally made Steve Kerr lose his temper, who in the usual interview between the first and second quarters he did not mince words to comment on what happened.
When asked to the microphones about the physical game that his parents had to expect from the beginning, Kerr immediately responded by stating “It wasn’t a physical play, it was a dirty play“, to then increase the dose at the end of the game (lost by the Warriors 106-101 after the show in the final 4 minutes of Ja Morant, author of the 15 final points of the Grizzlies and 47 points overall):
“There is a code, a code that all players follow that you never put your opponent’s season or career at risk by grabbing and hitting him in the head while in the air. Dillon Brooks broke this code. This is how I see it, the limit is very precise. You do not hit a player in the head while he is in the air causing him to fracture his elbow in the fall. This is the limit“
The technical consequences of the Payton II injury
Beyond the sacrosanct controversy over the rudeness and brutality of Brooks’s phallus, the series now risks turning in an important way on an episode that robs Golden State of its best defender against Grizzlies ace Morant. The 47 points with which the number 12 earned the cover of the night are in fact a consequence of the absence of Payton II, a man appointed to stem the physical exuberance and athleticism and defensive specialist of Kerr’s team, who has seen and will now be forced to alternate Steph Curry and Jordan Poole against Ja’s penetrations, with an inevitable difference in terms of speed and verticality. Even because Klay Thompson appears a far cry from his mile daysre not only in attack, but also in his own half, and asking him for the job that until the beginning of the injuries he did very well against the opposing superstars is structurally impossible.
Therefore assigning the Morant marking to the Curry-Poole couple will have extremely negative consequences both for the physical and athletic gap with the direct opponent, and for the impossibility of having the two always lucid in attack, where their gravity and their ability to score from the dribble remains the nerve center of the Warriors game. The overtime they will be forced into in the absence of Payton II will inevitably affect their offensive performance and risk significantly compromising upcoming challenges. That at this point – pending a ruling that will almost certainly come against Brooks – they will be even more tense.
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Warriors-Grizzlies on fire, Steve Kerr raises his voice: “This is playing dirty”
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