Fiery clash between LeBron and Dillon ignites Grizzlies' victory over Lakers - Hindustan Times
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Fiery clash between LeBron James and Dillon Brooks ignites Grizzlies' victory over Lakers in game 2

ByPaurush Omar
Apr 20, 2023 07:15 PM IST

The Memphis Grizzlies took down the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round but the highlight of the game was a fiery cash

On Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies managed to outlast the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference matchup. Despite the absence of All-Star point guard Ja Morant, who was sidelined with a badly bruised right hand, the Grizzlies pulled off an impressive 103-93 victory at FedEx Forum. However, it was not just the scoreline that made the game a talking point. Rather, it was the fiery clash between LeBron James and Dillon Brooks, the Memphis wing.

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 16, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.(Getty Images via AFP)
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 16, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.(Getty Images via AFP)

The intensity between the two players had already been dialed up considerably early in the third quarter, moments after Brooks had been whistled for his fourth foul. At that point, the Grizzlies were leading 66-48, and it seemed that the game might be slipping away from the Lakers. However, a 17-3 run by the visitors cut the deficit to just 69-63, and the match was back in the balance.

It was at this point that James and Brooks began jawing with each other, exchanging words in a back-and-forth that mercifully went unchecked by the referees. Brooks, who had been guarding James, did not hold back in his words or actions, poking the bear that is the Lakers superstar. "I don’t care, he’s old," Brooks later told reporters, adding that he does not respect anyone until they come and give him 40. "I pride myself on what I do, defense and taking on any challenge that’s on the board. If it’s LeBron, if it’s AD [Anthony Davis], if it’s whoever. I play my heart out—he knows that. The rest of the NBA knows that. I know my guys know that."

James, who is still producing at elite levels at the age of 38, finished with a game-high 28 points. Brooks, to his credit, picked up only one more foul and was able to guard effectively when it mattered. He logged less than 23 minutes compared to James’ near-39, but the Grizzlies were eight points better when Brooks was on the floor and 17 points better with James out there.

Naturally, the media wanted to know as many details of their exchange as possible. Brooks said that James had told him he was "dumb for getting that foul," to which Brooks had replied, "Oh, finally you want to talk." Brooks then claimed that he had said to James, "There’s no doubt you can’t take me 1-on-1. You haven’t." This is the point at which Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins probably had veins bulging in his neck.

Despite the heated clash, both James and Brooks were able to maintain a level of respect for each other. "Obviously I have some respect," Brooks said of James. "He’s a legend. He’s LeBron James. But when I’m on that floor, you’re just another player to me. I don’t care who you are. You’re just 6-8, 270 pounds and you’re a basketball player." James, for his part, did not let the altercation affect his performance. His focus remained on the game, and he continued to lead his team with his usual intensity and skill.

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