CLEVELAND — Donovan Mitchell took his most vicious shots at Dillon Brooks after the sport.
Accusing Brooks of being a unclean player, Mitchell said the NBA must do something in regards to the Memphis guard’s unruly bad behavior after he smashed Cleveland’s All-Star guard within the groin in the course of the Cavaliers’ 128-113 victory over the Grizzlies on Thursday night.
“That’s just who he’s,” said Mitchell, who was ejected within the third quarter for throwing the ball at Brooks. “We’ve seen it a bunch on this league with him. Him and I actually have had our personal battles for years.
“There’s no place for that in the sport. This has been brewing for years with me and other guys within the league. You all see it. This isn’t latest.”
Darius Garland scored 32 points shortly after being left off the All-Star team and carried Cleveland following Mitchell’s ejection because the Cavs handed the Grizzlies their seventh loss in eight games.
Garland was considered one of several players having All-Star-caliber seasons not named an Eastern Conference reserve by the coaches. He added 11 assists because the Cavs bounced back from a troublesome loss to Miami on Tuesday night.
Donovan Mitchell (right) fights with Dillon Brooks in the course of the third quarter of the Cavaliers’ 128-113 win over the Grizzlies after he was punched within the groin by Brooks.Getty Images
“He was good,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He knew how vital this game was to us and what we would have liked from him. That’s what leaders do.”
Mitchell, voted an All-Star starter last week, was tossed within the third quarter for throwing the ball at Brooks after the pair tangled under the basket. Brooks also was thrown out.
With the Cavs leading 81-76, Brooks missed a shot and fell within the lane. While on the ground, he flung his arm back and struck Mitchell, who was standing over him, within the groin area. Mitchell dropped in pain and retaliated by firing the ball at Brooks after which charging and shoving him along the baseline in front of the Memphis bench.
Because the altercation threatened to spill into the seats, officials and players were in a position to get things under control before any punches were thrown.
It’s possible the league could punish Brooks further, and Mitchell believes additional penalities are warranted.
“There needs to be something,” he said. “This isn’t only a Donovan thing. This has happened to other players throughout this league, and it’s complete (expletive). Those guys talk (junk) and that’s positive, that’s all an element of basketball. All of us grew up playing that way.
“But while you start doing low-cost (stuff), that ain’t it. That’s where my frustration lies. It’s not about talking backwards and forwards. That’s cool, but while you start doing little stuff like that.”
Bickerstaff felt Mitchell, who said he has had previous run-ins with Brooks, had every right to defend himself.
“That was an affordable shot in multiple ways,” he said. “A man must have the appropriate to arise for himself. I believed Donovan did that. I’m happy with our guys. We don’t have those guys that start (expletive)t, but we’ve guys who don’t run from (expletive) shit and you’ve to on this league.
“You might have to arise for yourself. That’s what he did and his teammates had his back.”
Brooks refused to debate the altercation with Mitchell in any detail. When he was asked in regards to the exchange, Memphis All-Star Ja Morant stepped in and said the Grizzlies wouldn’t talk in regards to the incident.
Brooks did say he agreed with the flagrant-2 call.
“It saved me some T’s (technicals),” he said.
Donovan Mitchell (right) fights with Dillon Brooks in the course of the third quarter of the Cavaliers’ win over the Grizzlies after he was punched within the groin by Brooks.USA TODAY Sports
The Grizzlies have a fame because the NBA’s most talkative team, but Morant believes they’re being unfairly judged.
“Anything in the case of negative in regards to the Grizzlies, we normally, you recognize, get the punishment,” Morant said. “It ain’t the identical. They (the NBA) hate us.”
While Mitchell said he and Brooks have an extended history, Morant denied the Grizzlies having any issues with the four-time All-Star.
“We don’t got no history with no person,” Morant said. “We don’t beef with no person.”
Cedi Osman scored 21 points and Jarrett Allen added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.
Evan Mobley had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Desmond Bane scored 25 points and Morant had 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Grizzlies despite being in foul trouble a lot of the night.
Memphis played without All-Star forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who sustained a thigh bruise in Tuesday night in a loss to Portland.