In yet another eventful performance for the pesky defender known as Dillon “The Villain,” Brooks picked up his 18th technical foul of the season for taunting the Dallas bench during the Grizzlies’ 112-108 win Monday night.
In particular, Brooks taunted vocal Mavs reserve forward Theo Pinson after dunking in traffic with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter. Brooks pantomimed waving pom-poms, insinuating that Pinson earned paychecks as a cheerleader, not a player.
“The dude was standing up on the bench. He should be sitting down,” Brooks said, referencing the NBA’s bench decorum rules added in the offseason in large part due to Pinson’s antics during last year’s playoffs. “We should be putting that on notice, but I just wanna let him know he’s a cheerleader.”
Pinson responded by tweeting, “I got some real estate I see” with a laughing emoji, perhaps a nod to Brooks’ comment about owning real estate in San Francisco after swapping barbs with Golden State’s Klay Thompson during and after the Grizzlies’ win Saturday night.
The NBA automatically suspends players for one game after they are assessed 16 technical fouls in a season, and every two technical fouls thereafter. Brooks, who leads the league in technicals, was suspended for the Grizzlies’ March 5 road loss to the LA Clippers. He is expected to be suspended again for Wednesday’s home game against the Houston Rockets.
Brooks could avoid another suspension if the league office opts to rescind this technical foul, but the Grizzlies do not consider that to be a realistic possibility.
“We’ll see, but this might be a hard one to get back,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said, prompting laughter in the room.
Brooks, who teammate Jaren Jackson Jr. referred to as “the best wing defender in the league,” has become well known for his antagonistic antics that often lead to confrontations and occasionally technical fouls.
“I’m working on it, you know what I’m saying?” said Brooks, who was also suspended for a game in early February for initiating an altercation with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell. “Today, I got out of hand, but somehow, some way, there’s some method to the madness.”
As the Memphis player who typically draws the most difficult defensive assignment, Brooks considers it part of his duties to attempt to mentally rattle opposing stars. On Monday, that meant exchanging trash talk with Mavs guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 28 points but didn’t have any assists and was 0-of-8 from the floor during his scoreless fourth quarter.
“He said my defense was gimmick,” Brooks said, “but clearly it wore on him towards the fourth quarter.”
Irving twisted his right ankle and aggravated a foot injury that sidelined him for three games last week, including two losses to the Grizzlies, when Brooks stepped on his foot early in the fourth quarter. Irving left FedExForum in a walking boot but called that a “precautionary” measure and expressed optimism that he would be able to play in Wednesday’s home game against the Warriors.
“I would’ve felt different up here if I felt Dillon did it on purpose, but I didn’t,” Irving said.
However, Irving declined Brooks’ request to swap jerseys after the game. Irving gave Brooks his Mavs jersey but didn’t accept the offer to take Brooks’ Grizzlies jersey.
“Probably get it next time,” Irving said, smiling. “Not this time. I was really onto the next thing.”
Brooks wasn’t bothered, vowing to sign Irving’s jersey himself and hang it on his wall.
“I’m a fan of Kyrie, for everything he stands for, the way he uses his platform, his basketball game,” Brooks said. “When you’re growing up, you want to aspire to be able to do what he does. He’s just like Kobe. He’s just like Jordan, those guys. He plays the game at a different pace. He uses both hands. Midrange god. And that’s where I want to be at one day when I’ll be able to shoot the ball more.”