Brooks and Mitchell got into a scuffle after Brooks hit Mitchell in the groin area. Mitchell responded by throwing the ball at Brooks and then taking him down on the baseline.
Donovan Mitchell and Dillon Brooks tussle in Cleveland 👊
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) February 3, 2023
It was a crazy sequence in what ended up being an easy win for the Cavs. However, Mitchell was fed up with Brooks in his postgame press conference.
Donovan Mitchell on Dillon Brooks: pic.twitter.com/AhoWcMhtJx
— Chris Manning (@cwmwrites) February 3, 2023
“That’s just who he is. We’ve seen it a bunch in this league with him. Him and I have had our personal battles for years,” Mitchell said of Brooks. “Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his a– for years. Playoffs, regular season – the one game he does an alright job on me, he decides to do something like that. There’s no place in that in the game. You got to protect yourself at the end of the day. This has been brewing for years. You all see it. This isn’t new. It’s tough when you can’t guard somebody, you can’t do something to somebody, you gotta resort to that.”
It’s rare to see Mitchell get so fired up about a play, but Brooks’ hit to his midsection was certainly uncalled for. Prior to being ejected, Mitchell had struggled, scoring just six points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
Mitchell went on to explain that Brooks has done this before, mentioning stars such as Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry as players Brooks has done things like this to before.
It’s also hard to forget what Brooks did to Gary Payton II in the playoffs last season, pushing him from behind on a dunk attempt that led to Payton breaking his elbow.
Mitchell brought up a time where he scored 30 points on Brooks as a member of the Utah Jazz where the two were talking the entire game, but he said this time Brooks crossed a line.
“It’s non-stop talking back and forth, and that was cool when we were just talking,” Mitchell said. “But that right there – that’s where the line has to be drawn. And the NBA has to do something about it. Because like I said, I’m not the only person that this has happened to. There’s no place for that in this game.”
Mitchell took another shot at Brooks, saying that if he “can’t guard somebody” to just “get a switch.”
While Brooks did hold Mitchell down in this game, Mitchell has gotten the better of Brooks in his NBA career.
In 11 career games against Brooks, Mitchell is averaging 20.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. He’s scored 20 or more points six times against Brooks, including two 35-point games.
“I think my reaction – honestly just for me – reacted to a cheap shot,” Mitchell said of being ejected for the scuffle. “You know what I mean?”
Mitchell declined to say exactly what further punishment Brooks should face, but he did say, “It should be something.”
Luckily for Mitchell, the Cavs were able to hang on without him, riding a big game from Darius Garland. The Cavs point guard finished with 32 points and 11 assists on Thursday night.
Cleveland is hoping that Mitchell doesn’t serve any further punishment for his role in the scuffle with Brooks, and the Cavs can take some solace in the fact that they don’t play the Grizzlies again in the 2022-23 regular season.