Tempers flared during the Houston Rockets‘ 135—119 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night at the Toyota Center. As is often the case, Dillon Brooks was right in the middle of things, as the Rockets forward jawed at—and was whistled for a flagrant foul on—Lakers star LeBron James, with whom he has an ongoing feud.
Brooks even got into it with Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who seemed to take exception to a hard foul from the Rockets forward during the second quarter.
But that wasn’t all.
Vanderbilt, who was ejected from the game after shoving Brooks, declined to speak to reporters after the game, but teammate Anthony Davis defended his actions.
Davis explained what led Vanderbilt to confront Brooks, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“He talks and says whatever he wants to the refs, to players and at the end of the day, we’re men. No man is going to talk towards another man the way he was talking to Vando. So, Vando did what he had to do,” Davis said.
An anonymous Lakers player said that Brooks called Vanderbilt a “p***y,” according to McMenamin. It’s clear from Davis’s explanation that Vanderbilt was not only upset about what he felt was a hard foul, but also what Brooks allegedly said to him.
For his part, Brooks indicated that he felt Vanderbilt started the altercation.
It’s clear that the Rockets wing is determined to play the villain role and needle opposing teams as much as possible.
Difficult as it may be, opposing players will have to control their emotions, so as not to play right into Brooks’s hands.