Southwest Notes: Brooks, Wood, Nurse, Rockets

Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was up to his usual antics on Wednesday night after helping lead the Ja Morant-less team to a Game 2 victory that evened the series at 1-1. Speaking to reporters, Brooks said that Lakers star LeBron James told him four minutes into the third quarter that he was “dumb” for picking up his fourth foul, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN relays. Brooks was all too happy to “get into a conversation” with James after that.

“I don’t care — he’s old. You know what I mean?” Brooks said of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. “I was waiting for that. I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul. He should have been saying that earlier on. But I poke bears. I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”

While Brooks referred to James as a “legend,” he said he views the longtime superstar as “just another basketball player” when he competes against him and suggested that LeBron is well past his prime.

“He’s not at the same level that he was when he was on Cleveland winning championships, Miami,” Brooks said. “I wish I got to see that. It would have been a harder task, but I’m playing with what I’ve got. Just wear and tear on him throughout a seven-game series and see if he can take it. See if he wants to play the one-on-one battle or if he wants to be out on the sidelines shooting the basketball.”

As the Grizzlies prepare to resume their first-round series in Los Angeles on Saturday, here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Comments made by Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison during his end-of-season media session didn’t inspire confidence that the team will re-sign free agent center Christian Wood, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Harrison praised Wood’s impact, especially on the offensive end, but alluded to concerns about the big man’s defense. “Just because you’re an efficient scorer, there’s more to the game than just that, so I think it’s important to note that,” Harrison said.
  • While Houston has widely been considered the most likely landing spot for Nick Nurse if the Raptors‘ head coach leaves Toronto, Marc Stein says on Substack that he recently got his “first whiff of pessimism” about the Rockets‘ chances of hiring Nurse in the event that he becomes available.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic solicited opinions from scouts on several potential free agent targets for the Rockets, including Cameron Johnson, Jerami Grant, Dillon Brooks, and Fred VanVleet.
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