NBA

'I don't care, he's old' – Grizzlies' Brooks relishing antagonising LeBron

By Sports Desk April 20, 2023

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James may be the most recognisable figure in the NBA, but the Memphis Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks is enjoying showing his rival no respect.

The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 103-93 on Wednesday in Game 2 of their first-round playoff to tie the series, with Brooks and James competing at close proximity.

Brooks exchanged heated words with James in the third quarter after his fourth foul allowed the NBA's all-time leading scorer to sink a couple of baskets to reduce the Grizzlies' lead to 14.

James apparently called Brooks "dumb" for his antagonistic approach, which the 27-year-old snapped back at.

Brooks, who is regarded as one of the NBA's fieriest wing defenders, suggested James' behaviour showed he was wilting under pressure a little earlier than expected.

Speaking of his confrontation with the 38-year-old James, Brooks said: "I don't care – he's old. You know what I mean? I was waiting for that.

"I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul.

"He should have been saying that earlier on. But I poke bears. I don't respect no one until they come and give me 40."

James has never posted 40 points in 13 games against Brooks, reaching 28 on Wednesday as the Lakers fell well short.

But more opportunities will arrive as the series progresses, and Brooks – who managed just 23 minutes on court due to his persistent fouling – is seemingly looking forward to more tussles.

"I said, 'Oh, finally you want to talk,' then we started to get into a conversation," Brooks continued.

"I just let him know that, 'You can't take me one-on-one. You haven't.' You go look at the film; he doesn't really take me one-on-one until that moment.

"Then when he got subbed out, he was tired. So I did my job."

There was a cutting tone to much of what Brooks said about James, though some of his comments were undercut with a hint of respect.

"He's not at the same level that he was when he was on Cleveland winning championships, Miami," Brooks added.

"I wish I got to see that. It would have been a harder task, but I'm playing with what I've got.

"Just wear and tear on him throughout a seven-game series and see if he can take it. See if he wants to play the one-on-one battle or if he wants to be out on the sidelines shooting the basketball."

The Grizzlies and Lakers will contest Game 3 of the series on Saturday at the Crypto.com Arena.

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