Southwest Notes: Brooks, Valanciunas, Christopher, Doncic

Grizzlies small forward Dillon Brooks was fined $35K by the league for knocking over a camera operator during a road game against the Heat last week. Brooks has since apologized for the incident and stated that he plans to call the camera person, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“I didn’t mean to hurt him in any way possible,” Brooks claimed. “I’m not that type of person… Whatever the NBA did is what they did, but I’m not that type of person. I play the game hard.”

Cole notes that Brooks’ cumulative tally of lost cash via suspensions and fines now total $200K for the 2022/23 season.

According to Miami radio play-by-play announcer Jason Jaxson (Twitter link), that camera person was physically injured by Brooks, to the point where he was still being evaluated by doctors a couple days after the incident.

“The fine was on point,” Jackson wrote, “but the max ($50K) would have felt like a sliver of justice after disregard for another human – an incredible one at that.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The struggling Pelicans managed to pull off a 117-107 Sunday win against the Rockets by playing through veteran center Jonas Valanciunas, writes Christian Clark of Valanciunas was a big part of the team’s early offensive attack, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds. “It makes it a lot easier, especially when we have him more engaged on the offensive end,” forward Brandon Ingram said. “You see him do more on the defensive end. He’s down in a stance. We just kind of fed off him today. Every time he caught it, he was aggressive, and he made the right play.” 
  • Second-year reserve Rockets shooting guard Josh Christopher recently explained how he has improved since the 2022/23 season began, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I’m growing up,” Christopher said. “Of course, with more experience, I’m going to keep on getting better. Me slowing down is a part of me getting better. I’m starting to read the game a little more and I’m more decisive. It’s helped a lot… My teammates tell me to go out there and be myself. Coaches tell me to be myself. I watch a lot of tape. I stay in the gym. It makes everything easier, on top of me knowing when I’m going to play, and I am in the rotation.”
  • Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic remained out for Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies with a left thigh strain, Dallas has tweeted. He has now missed the team’s last five contests, including three against Memphis, with the injury. That said, head coach Jason Kidd indicated today that Doncic is progressing well from the ailment, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “He’s going in the right direction, so hopefully [he will be back] soon,” Kidd said. “I think these last couple days have been really, really good, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
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