Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks has never been one to keep his opinions to himself, so his words about potential first-round NBA playoff opponents shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Brooks said he wouldn’t mind facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round with his No. 2-seeded Grizzlies if the Lakers win a play-in tournament game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
The winner of that game becomes the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference for the first round and would face Memphis.
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Specifically, Brooks singled out arguably the greatest player of all time when referring to the Lakers.
«I wouldn’t mind playing with LeBron [James] in a seven-game series,» Brooks said, via ESPN.
«The legacy is there. For the first time in the playoffs, knocking him out right away in the first round. It will test us well. They have good pieces, good players, and that will be a good first-round matchup for us.»
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It wasn’t like James to not be in the hunt for an NBA title last season.
After picking up eight wins in their last 10 games, including back-to-back wins to end the regular season, James and the Lakers are back in the playoffs as long as they clinch the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the West. They just need a play-in tournament win to do it.
That’s expected to be the case with James up front. And given his past with four NBA titles, James wants to make a statement as a playoff underdog.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, finished with a 51-31 record, including an impressive 35-6 record at home. Brooks, who started all 73 games he’s played for the Grizzlies this season, has contributed to that success with 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
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But many NBA fans know Brooks as a firebrand. He led the NBA in technical fouls this year with 18, which led to a suspension from the league. Brooks wants to get into his opponents’ heads and has defended James in the past. In Los Angeles, he even exchanged words with NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe at one point this season.
Brooks won’t apologize, even if it means calling out the Lakers and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
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The Grizzlies host the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference on Sunday in Memphis.