NBA playoffs: Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks ejected for LeBron James low blow in runaway Lakers win

Dillon Brooks said he likes to poke bears. He might have taken that a little too literally on Saturday in a 111-101 Los Angeles Lakers win.

Three days after the Memphis Grizzlies guard went after LeBron James with some very loud Game 2 trash talk, the Lakers turned the first quarter of Game 3 into a historic bloodbath. After 12 minutes of play, the score stood at 35-9, a deficit the Grizzlies never came reasonably close to erasing.

Even with that first quarter, the low point came in the third when Brooks got himself ejected with a flagrant two foul for hitting James with a clear low blow. He finished the game with 7 points on 3-of-13 shooting in 19 minutes.

Per the ESPN broadcast, the Lakers were tied for the largest lead to end the first quarter in NBA playoffs history. It was also the lowest-scoring quarter for any team this season.

The stat sheet was bad all over for the Grizzlies in the quarter. As a team, they shot 3 of 25. Only one starter, the returning Ja Morant, made a field goal. There was one assist to six turnovers. Brooks had zero points on 0-for-4 shooting with one turnover at that point.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - APRIL 19: Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 16, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. 
at FedExForum on April 19, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Dillon Brooks has had better nights. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

James finished the game with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, while Anthony Davis had 31 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks.

To the Grizzlies' credit, they woke up in the second quarter and at least managed to get the game back into competitive territory. They won the final three quarters 92-76, mainly thanks to a massive night from Morant.

Returning after missing Game 2 with a hand injury, Morant finished 45 points on 13-of-26 shooting with 13 assists and 9 rebounds. It wasn't enough to completely turn the game around, but there is at least some reason for confidence this series isn't over.

Dillons Brooks was the butt of the joke vs. Lakers

You know things aren't going well when the SportsCenter Twitter account is posting a single picture of you.

That was only the tip of the iceberg of schadenfreude that unfolded as viewers at home watched the Grizzlies languish in the first quarter.

Things didn't improve after the ejection.

There was a kernel of truth to those jokes, as the Grizzlies outscored the Lakers 64-58 after Brooks' ejection.

Dillon Brooks and LeBron James' 1-sided beef

Brooks was already known for being one of the NBA's most eager trash talkers before this series, but he dialed it up on Wednesday after the Grizzlies pulled out a key win.

The words he directed at James, which will likely now go down in infamy: "I don't care. He's old. ... I poke bears. I don't respect no one till they come and give me 40."

James wasn't very interested in a back-and-forth with a player whose résumé obviously pales in comparison to his, even if that player has been a solid rotation piece with the Grizzlies for years.

Asked multiple times about Brooks on Friday, James mostly responded with one-word answers and called the exercise "bulls***" before ending his availability, though he did say the following:

"The game is won in between the four lines. Always has, always will be."

The two players had an exchange shortly before the game that somehow felt simultaneously friendly and tense, with James smiling and shaking his head before walking away.

Fast forward to the end of the game and Lakers had a 2-1 series lead. After the game, Brooks walked past reporters and declined to speak after the game.

Game 4 is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET Monday (TNT) at Arena in Los Angeles.