NBA playoffs: LeBron James doesn't shake hands, Dillon Brooks avoids media after Lakers eliminate Grizzlies
The feud between Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks ended ... pretty much how everyone expected. James stayed true to his word and let his actions speak louder than his words following the Lakers' Game 6 win. Brooks, on the other hand, did a complete 180 after talking smack early in the series.
James made it clear how he felt about Brooks and the Grizzlies before Game 6 ended. With 14.1 seconds left, James walked back to the Lakers' locker room. He had no interest in shaking hands with the Grizzlies after a 125-85 victory.
— Italo's Media (@BulletCluIta) April 29, 2023
Brooks took a much different approach. Earlier in the series, Brooks called out James following the Grizzlies' win in Game 2. After that contest, Brooks said James was "old." Brooks added, "I don't respect no one 'til they come and give me 40." The Lakers won Game 6 by 40 points.
Following Game 6, Brooks decided he didn't want to deal with the backlash from those comments. He apparently left the locker room before media was allowed to speak with players.
Dillon Brooks exited the locker room before the media was allowed to enter postgame.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 29, 2023
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise Brooks didn't want to talk after the loss. After his Game 2 trash talk, Brooks failed to rise to the occasion. He finished the six-game series with just 63 points. And he added 20 personal fouls, including one in which he was ejected after hitting James in the groin.
Dillon Brooks (series): 63 points, 77 shots, 24 made field goals, 20 personal fouls
— 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐑𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐨 (@FlyByKnite) April 29, 2023
While James' exit from the court was subdued, the Lakers seemed to enjoy the victory in the locker room.
James also seemed to finally respond to Brooks' smack talk Saturday, posting some Jay-Z lyrics on Twitter.
Unlike you little 🤬I'm a grown ass man
Big shoes to fill 🤬, grown ass pants
Prolly hustled with your pops, go ask your parents
Its apparent you're staring at a legend
Who, put a few little 🤬in the they place before
Trying to eat without saying they grace before! 🤫👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 29, 2023
James didn't dedicate those lyrics to anyone, but it feels like fans can read between the lines.
Grizzlies have to answer some questions after loss to Lakers
The Grizzlies now find themselves in a difficult spot following Friday's loss. Before the season, star guard Ja Morant suggested the team had its sights set on the Eastern Conference and wasn't worried about the West. In doing so, he seemed to imply it was a foregone conclusion the Grizzlies would win the Western Conference this season.
Morant was asked about those comments Friday, and said he would deal with the criticism that comes his way.
"I don't mind. I said it. I'll deal with it."
Ja on his "I'm fine in the West" comment pic.twitter.com/26wrrXIvQn
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 29, 2023
Morant and the Grizzlies could follow through on that promise in future seasons, but the team needs to figure out a way to get over that hump. Friday proved there's still plenty of work to be done if the Grizzlies hope to be the team to beat in the West.