An altercation between Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks resulted in both players being ejected from Thursday night’s game in Cleveland and prompted Mitchell to take aim at Brooks in a post-game press conference.
Following a drive to the basket, Brooks ended up on the floor as Mitchell grabbed the rebound. As he rolled over, Brooks hit Mitchell below the belt with his forearm, which the Cavs star viewed as intentional rather than inadvertent. Mitchell immediately threw the basketball at Brooks and shoved him, which resulted in players and coaches from both teams joining the fray to separate the two (Twitter video link via TSN.ca).
After the game, Mitchell suggested to reporters, including Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, that Brooks should be called out for a history of questionable on-court behavior.
“That’s just who he is,” Mitchell said. “We have seen it a bunch in this league with him. Him and I have had our personal battles for years. Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his ass for years. Playoffs. Regular season. And the one game he does an alright job on me today, he decides to do something like that. No place for that in the game. Gotta protect yourself. This has been brewing for years. With me. With other guys in the league. You all see it. This isn’t new. Tonight was just the end of it.
“… Tough when you can’t guard somebody and can’t do something with somebody, you have to resort to that. I’m not typically someone who gets ejected for stuff like that. But at the end of the day, I think my reaction was reacting to a cheap shot. If punishment doesn’t come from that, he’s just going to keep doing it. It’s just dumb to be honest with you and I’m going to appeal it because I don’t think I should’ve gotten ejected for defending myself.”
It’s fair to assume that both players will at least be fined for the incident, and suspensions aren’t out of the question either. Asked what sort of punishment might be appropriate for Brooks, Mitchell declined to offer any specific ideas, but said “it should be something.”
“It’s complete bulls–t. They talk s–t and that’s fine. That’s all part of basketball,” Mitchell said. “We all grew up playing that way. But when you start doing little cheap s–t like that, that ain’t it.
“… The NBA has to do something about it. I’m not the only person this has happened to and there’s no place for that in this game. I took matters into my own hands. When you have a cheap shot like that, there was no need to do that.”
Mitchell’s backcourt mates Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland both referred to Brooks’ play as “dirty,” Fedor notes.
For his part, Brooks declined to address the altercation in any detail after the game, per ESPN, with teammate Ja Morant stepping in to say the Grizzlies wouldn’t be discussing it. Morant did say he feels as if the Grizzlies’ reputation as trash talkers have made the team as an easy target for criticism.
“Anything when it comes to negative about the Grizzlies, we normally, you know, get the punishment,” Morant said. “It ain’t the same. They (the NBA) hate us.”