The ongoing battle between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies has been hard-fought and very tight in the first two games. Both games have been decided by very fine margins in the clutch, and the series has seen tough, uncompromising basketball played by both sides. Draymond Green was ejected in Game 1 after a hard foul on Brandon Clarke, and Dillon Brooks was ejected for a similar play on Gary Payton II in Game 2.
Payton was fouled by Brooks in midair as he went for a layup, with the Grizzlies man catching him on the head, and the subsequent fall has resulted in a fractured elbow for the Warriors man. Steve Kerr was furious with the foul when it happened and called the play dirty during the game. He went on to elaborate more in the press conference, suggesting that Brooks broke the 'player's code'.
"I don't know if it was intentional, but it was dirty and you know, playoff basketball is supposed to be physical and everyone is going to compete and everyone is 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 or career in jeopardy. Like taking somebody out in midair and clubbing them across the head, and ultimately fracturing Gary's elbow. You don’t hit a guy when he’s in midair, club him and break his elbow. That’s where the line is."
Kerr was understandably a bit emotional considering that the injury to Gary Payton II turned out to be quite severe, going on to talk about the effort he has put in to make into the league.
"This is a guy who's been toiling for the past 6 years, trying to make it in this league. Finally found a home, just playing his butt off this year. In the playoffs, this should be the time of his life, and a guy comes in and whacks him across the head in midair. He broke the code, Dillon Brooks broke the code."
Gary Payton II will likely miss the rest of this series, if not the rest of the playoffs, which is quite a shame for him. The Warriors will miss his tenacity on the defensive end, and it's easy to see why Kerr is so riled up about this. This series is likely to get even more heated after an incident like that, the hope will remain though that there are no other injuries.