In the wake of a $35,000 fine for what the NBA deemed “the unsportsmanlike act of shoving a camera person” during Wednesday night’s loss to the Miami Heat at Miami-Dade Arena, Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks said the act was unintentional.
Addressing the incident for the first time when the Grizzlies hosted the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, Brooks said he planned to reach out to the cameraman who is a fixture at Heat home games, working as an independent contractor for Bally Sports.
“It was unintentional,” Brooks said of the incident that appeared otherwise, as he unsuccessfully scrambled at the midcourt sideline to keep a ball from going out of bounds. “I was running full speed. I didn’t mean to hurt him in any way possible. I’m not that type of person.
“I’m going to give him a call tomorrow to check on him and see how he is.”
Brooks did not mention whether he would appeal the fine. Brooks, 27, is in the final year of the three-year, $35 million contract that pays $11.4 million this season.
“But, you know, it’s a bad situation,” Brooks said, “and whatever the NBA did is what they did. But I’m not that type of person. I play the game hard.”
The Heat next play at home Wednesday night at Miami-Dade Arena against the New York Knicks, after completing a two-game trip Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.
The cameraman in the incident, Terry Swann, declined comment to the Sun Sentinel. A Bally Sports spokesman declined comment on the incident.
In the wake of the NBA’s fine, Heat broadcaster Jason Jackson posted a rebuke to Brooks on Twitter.
“I rarely comment on these things,” Jackson posted, “BUT this one is personal. Our veteran @BallyHeat camera operator was injured & remains under evaluation.
“The fine was on point, but the max would have felt like a sliver of justice after disregard for another human – an incredible one at that.”
Brooks’ play occurred with 2:40 remaining in the second quarter of what turned into a 138-119 Grizzlies loss.
In the wake of the Heat tumbling in the NBA defensive rankings since the All-Star break, coach Erik Spoelstra said it is the detail not the personnel that has been lacking.
“We’re going to shore this all up,” he said ahead of the game against the Pistons. “That’s it. We’re going to shore it up. We’re capable of being much better defensively.
“It’s the same guys, same people. I mean, we’ve had a top-four defense before All-Star break. It’s costly when we don’t defend with those kinds of efforts like we had in the second half [of Saturday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls].”
The Heat’s major rotation move since the All-Star break has been inserting buyout-deadline acquisition Kevin Love into the starting lineup and moving Caleb Martin to the bench.
In the wake of the loss in Chicago, the Heat downplayed lacking focus against teams with losing records.
“I think it’s the NBA, as a league. We got good teams,” forward Jimmy Butler said. “You can’t always look at somebody’s record and, ‘Wow, that team’s supposed to beat them.’
“You can get beat by anybody on any given night and we’ve shown that’s happened to us all year long. But what can we do about it now? Let’s try to win as many games as we can moving forward.”
Butler said there is no arrogance involved.
“I don’t think we’re better than anybody,” he said. “I think that we’ve got to compete at it, and when we deserve to win, we’ll win. If we don’t deserve to win, we will not win.”
Guard Max Strus said it is about focus.
“At the end of the day,” he said. “it’s the NBA and everybody is talented. Everybody is a good team when they’re making shots.”