In Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the
Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, Dillon Brooks
committed a flagrant foul that caused Gary Payton II to fall and
fracture his left elbow. Brooks was ejected and suspended one game,
and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr blasted Brooks after the
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr
said. “There’s a code that players follow. You never put a guy’s
season or career in jeopardy by taking someone out in mid-air and
clubbing him across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary’s
elbow... He broke the code. Dillion Brooks broke the code."
Now, after a Ja Morant injury in Game 3, the Grizzlies have
accused the Warriors of breaking the very same code.
Morant had to exit Game 3 with a knee injury, and the replay
showed Jordan Poole grabbing and pulling Morant’s knee. Is that
what ultimately caused Morant's injury? Ja seems to think so, as
Morant tweeted (and later deleted) the following video with the
caption, “broke the code."
Poole told reporters that he hadn’t gotten a chance to see the
replay. After watching the video, he defended himself.
“Yeah, it was a basketball play when we doubled him, and I hit
the ball and I was going for the ball,” Poole said. “I mean,
obviously you don't want to see anybody get hurt. I'm not even that
type of player. I respect everybody. So I mean, obviously,
hopefully he gets better, and we can see him out there next game. I
don't even play like that, for real. That's not my type of
When asked specifically about Morant’s “broke the code” tweet,
Poole refused to engage.
“We've got another game on Monday,” he said.
Some Grizzlies players and coaches were frustrated and felt this
was a dirty play.
“We just watched the replay: He was going after a dribble and
Jordan Poole actually grabbed his knee and yanked it, which kind of
triggered whatever happened, so I'm actually going to be very
curious to see what happens after that,” Grizzlies head coach
Taylor Jenkins said. “There was a grab. I'm just curious what
“It's unfortunate. Ja is obviously having a great series,”
Desmond Bane added. “For something like that to happen, something
that is somewhat controllable... Jordan Poole reached out and
grabbed his knee and kind of put him in an awkward position. It's
Jaren Jackson Jr. brought up “the code,” just like Kerr did
following Payton’s injury.
“We're going to ride for our own. You know our mentality…” Jaren
Jackson Jr. said. “It's unfortunate. You never want to see that
type of stuff. No one is out here [playing] dirty. No one is out
here like that. But it's just unfortunate. You know the code. We’ll
talk about the code all series at this point.”
The Warriors argued that the play wasn’t intentional or dirty,
with Klay Thompson even laughing when asked about Morant’s tweet
(and taking another shot at Brooks).
“That's playoff talk,” Thompson said. “Me personally, I've been
through a tough knee injury, and I don't think there's any
malicious intent from Jordan. I don't even think he's strong enough
to affect somebody's knee. But we're not out there trying to hurt
people or trying to club people in the back of the head on a
fastbreak. We play the game the right way and I'm going to have his
“It's unfortunate that that's a conversation right now because
obviously nobody wants to see anybody get hurt,” Stephen Curry
added. “But there's nothing malicious about what Jordan did.
There's no comparison to what Dillon did or Draymond [did], nothing
in that vein. So it's not a joking matter that Ja is hurt, but all
the rest it is total BS in terms of the conversation right now. I
remember that term they came up with:
‘hot-stove contact.’ That's what it felt like. Keep it moving.”
Draymond Green thought they bumped knees, then added: “No,
[we’re] not going to sit here and go tit-for-tat. We've got a
basketball game to try to win on Monday.”
Morant has been incredible during this series, averaging 38.3
points, 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 threes and 3.0 steals on
.518/.451/.797 shooting splits. If he’s forced to miss any time,
that would be a huge blow to the Grizzlies.
However, Memphis is a very well-rounded, deep team that managed
to go 20-5 without Morant this season. His teammates know that he’s
going to do whatever he can to take the court on Monday night.
“I mean, we've seen Ja, he's like Wolverine out there,”
De’Anthony Melton said. “He could be limping one day, the next day
be fine. He's a warrior. He's a competitor. He's just a hooper. Who
knows what his level of injury is at? He understands his body, and
he understands what the team needs, so he'll make the best
“He's good,” Jackson added after speaking to Morant. “He's going
to do whatever he's got to do. War mentality. He has the same
mentality he always has. Yeah, we'll bounce back, play great. We've
got to finish the game.”
Game 4 between the Grizzlies and Warriors is tomorrow at 10 p.m.
ET. Golden State leads the series 2-1.