MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Dillon Brooks fell to the court, his left arm swung backwards, striking Donovan Mitchell in the groin area.
Was it intentional? Mitchell thought so. He chucked the basketball at Brooks and threw him to the ground before the Memphis coaching staff could intervene, beginning a bench-clearing bruhaha in the Grizzlies 128-113 loss to the Cavaliers.
Brooks and Mitchell were ejected for their roles in the incident. Down 81-76 in the third quarter as play resumed, the episode provided little spark for the Grizzlies. Cleveland closed out the game on a 47-37 run to hand Memphis their seventh loss in eight games.
Mitchell said Brooks' contact was a "cheap shot."
"That's just who he is," Mitchell told reporters. "This isn't new. Tonight was just the end of it. But it's tough, when you can't guard somebody and you can't do something, you've got to resort to that? That's what he's done to a lot of players."
The Grizzlies entered this game with the odds against them. Jaren Jackson Jr., on night he received his first All-Star nod, was ruled out with thigh soreness.
Ja Morant, after being selected to his second-straight All-Star Game, tallied 24 points, eight rebound and eight assists in the loss. Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies with 25 points while shooting 6-for-7 from three-point range.
Darius Garland scored a game-high 32 points and added 11 assists as the Cavs bounced back from a loss to Miami on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies return home to face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday at 5:00pm.