When did the NBA go soft?
Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) handles the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the first half during Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

I can’t tell you how much I am loving this Memphis/Golden St. playoff series. One, because of the talent that is on the floor, the other, we are watching old school playoff basketball. Tough, physical play and hard fouls, nothing comes easy.

I am not advocating for players to get hurt and it is unfortunate that Gary Payton, Jr broke his elbow as a result of a hard foul, not a dirty play from Dillion Brooks. I know many will disagree with that opinion, but I have been witness to many playoff basketball games in my life and what happened on that play was nothing more than a hard playoff foul.

If that would have occurred 10 years ago or if Payton would not have been hurt, nothing would have been said. In fact I find it funny that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Brooks “broke the code” but then said nothing when Draymond Green got ejected for a hard playoff foul in game 1. Draymond followed that up with a couple of birds to the Memphis crowd after he was elbowed in the eye some 14 seconds after the Brooks/Payton incident.

Everyone says games are much more physical in the playoffs, that used to be true. Over the last several years that tough play seemed to disappear, The NBA had gone soft, until two games in Memphis in May, leading me to think, the good old days just might be making a comeback.

  • Joe Reinagel