With less than a minute left in Wednesday’s Grizzlies/Knicks game and Memphis leading by 18 points, Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder stole an inbound pass and ran to the three-point line to get a shot up, drawing the ire of Knicks guard Elfrid Payton. As Crowder launched his three-pointer, Payton delivered a two-handed shove to his chest, knocking him over and instigating a scuffle between the players on the court (video link).
As Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, the altercation could lead to fines and/or suspensions for some of the players involved. Payton, Crowder, and Marcus Morris were ejected from the game, with Payton receiving a flagrant 2 foul.
Payton, who seems like the most probable candidate for a suspension, expressed no remorse for his actions after the game, suggesting that Crowder “knows better” than to do what he did with the game’s outcome already decided, per Garrett Stepien and Ian Begley of SNY.tv.
“I’d do it again,” Payton said. “Didn’t matter who took that shot. Don’t disrespect the game like that … you just don’t do that.”
Barnes points out that Grizzlies players Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marko Guduric could also be subject to league discipline, since they left the team’s bench area during the incident before eventually being pulled back by assistant coaches. The NBA’s rules call for a one-game suspension for any player that leaves the bench to enter the fray during an on-court altercation.
The Knicks don’t play again until Saturday, but the Grizzlies are in action tomorrow, so if the NBA plans on handing out suspensions, we’ll hear about them before Friday night.
Here’s more on the Grizzlies/Knicks fracas:
- As Mike Vornukov of The Athletic details, Morris faced a backlash after the game for using sexist language while criticizing Crowder’s “unprofessional” play. “He’s just — a lot of female tendencies on the court, flopping and just throwing his head back the entire game,” the Knicks’ forward said. “And like I said, it’s a man’s game and you just get tired of it, man.“
- Morris, who may face NBA punishment for his comments about Crowder, later apologized on Twitter: “I apologize for using the term ‘female tendencies.’ I have the upmost respect for women and everything they mean to us. It was a heat of the moment response and I never intended for any women to feel as though in anyway I’m disrespecting them. Again I apologize for my comments.”
- Following the late-game altercation, fans at Madison Square Garden aimed a “Sell the team” chant at owner James Dolan for about 20 seconds, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Dolan shouted at security during the chants, and a source tells Berman that the Knicks’ owner also singled out a teenager who was the nearest chanting fan in his vicinity.