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Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley agree; Dillon Brooks didn't break the code: "It was an accident"

Most people believe Dillon Brooks' Flagrant 2 foul on Gary Payton II was a dirty play. But Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley weren't as quick to jump on the Grizzlies' forward
Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley react to Dillon Brooks' flagrant foul on Gary Payton II

Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley react to Dillon Brooks' foul on Gary Payton II

"That wasn't physical, that was dirty," Steve Kerr said about Dillon Brooks' Flagrant 2 foul on Gary Payton II.

Three minutes into Tuesday's Game 2 -- Memphis tied the series at one game a piece with a 106-101 victory --  the Warriors guard went up for a fastbreak layup and fell hard to the ground after Brooks delivered a significant blow to his head. The 29-year-old, who played a pivotal role in Golden State's Game 1 victory, suffered a fractured elbow, which led to Grizzlies' forward being ejected. 

His status for the remainder of the series remains in question.

"He broke the code"

After the game, Kerr doubled down on his criticism of Brooks.

“I don’t know if it was intentional but it was dirty,” Warriors head coach said. “There’s a code that players follow. You never put a guy’s season or career in jeopardy by taking someone out in mid-air and clubbing him across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow."

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Shaq and Barkley react

The chippiness from Game 1 translated over to yesterday's matchup. Seconds after GP's injury, Draymond Green caught an elbow from Xavier Tilman and had to leave the game with a bloody face. But according to Kerr, that's playoff basketball. Dillon Brooks' foul was just a dirty play.

And while most people agree with the Warriors head coach, Shaquille O'Neal wasn't as quick to jump on the Grizzlies' forward. 

"Yes and no," Shaq said when asked about whether Brooks' foul was a dirty play. "When a guy is in mid-air and you're bigger than him and you touch him, physics take over. He hit him in the head. Did he do it on purpose? No."

"One, he didn't jump. He did hit him in the head. So yes he broke the code, but did he break it on purpose and try to hurt young fella? I don't think so. I just think it was unfortunate he hit him on the head."

Shaquille O'Neal, Inside the NBA

Charles Barkley even went one step further.

"No," he said, dismissing the notion that what Brooks did was dirty. "It was an accident. I don't think Dillon Brooks is a dirty player. I don't think he tried to hurt him. The code is we don't try to hurt each other. Sometimes you hit a guy and he gets hurt. And I think that was an accident."

Based on his track record, this really is an isolated case. But even if Brooks isn't a dirty player, that doesn't mean that his foul on GP II wasn't a dirty play. How dirty? Enough for him to get ejected from the game. 

So the refs made the right call. Based on most people's reaction to Brooks' foul, the same doesn't go for Shaq and Barkley.

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