Brooks, who was ejected Tuesday for a flagrant 2 foul that fractured Payton’s left elbow, will serve the suspension Saturday for Game 3. The NBA announced Thursday that Brooks made “unnecessary and excessive contact” on Payton.
Brooks was chasing down Payton from behind on a transition layup in Game 2 on Tuesday when he hit Payton in the head while in the air with 9:08 left in the first quarter.
Payton is expected to miss approximately a month with the fractured elbow, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday. The possibility that Payton could return for the NBA Finals remains, but only if the Warriors advance in the playoffs.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was livid when the foul happened, screaming at the officiating crew. When Brooks was ejected, Kerr could be heard yelling, “Get the f— out of here, Brooks!”
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr said after the game. “There is a code. This code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season [or] career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow … He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.”
Brooks, 26, is averaging 13.4 points in eight postseason games. He was Memphis’ second-leading scorer in the regular season, averaging 18.4 points in 32 games.
In Brooks’ absence, Memphis started the second half with Ziaire Williams, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds in Game 2. The Grizzlies have experience playing without Brooks, who missed 50 games this season due to injury and placement in the league’s health and safety protocols.