Jenkins refutes Kerr: Grizzlies are ‘furthest thing from dirty'


After two gritty, action-packed Western Conference semifinal games between the Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, early signs are this will be an eventful series. There already has been one suspension, two ejections, nasty injuries and a lot -- a lot -- of physical play on both ends of the floor.

Things took a bad turn Tuesday night, when Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was ejected less than three minutes into Game 2 for a Flagrant 2 foul that left Gary Payton II with a broken elbow. Many watching the game didn’t like what they saw from Brooks on the play, and thought it was the right call to eject him and then later suspend him for one game.

The play raised the conversation even more on social media, leading basketball fans to say Memphis is playing dirty and unfair. But Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that’s not the case at all, and he believes people are mistaking his team’s physicality for dirty play.

“I look at my locker room and I look at our culture and what we exude, we're the furthest thing from dirty," Jenkins said, via The Commercial Appeal. "We're competitive, so I want that to be squashed pretty quick here."

Payton II had X-rays on his left elbow and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. How much time he will miss is to be determined, but either way, it’s a heartbreaking loss for the Warriors and a guy who was set to shine on the big stage after years of battling through a rocky road in the league.

"It's a tough play," Jenkins said. "We obviously wish Gary Payton II a speedy and healthy recovery. It's very unfortunate what happened there."

Warriors stars Steph Curry and Draymond Green openly spoke up about their frustrations with the harmful play. Also pissed off: Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

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“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr told reporters earlier this week. "Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. Everyone’s going to compete. Everybody’s going to fight for everything. But there’s a code in this league. There’s a code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season/career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clumping him across the head, and ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow.

“This is a guy who’s been toiling the past six years trying to make it in this league, finally found a home, playing his butt off this year. In the playoffs, this should be the time of his life, and a guy comes in and whacks him in the head mid-air. He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.”

Now, Curry, Green and Kerr hope to translate their anger on the court into a Game 3 win Saturday night at Chase Center.

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