NBA

Poole refutes idea he 'broke the code' after Morant injury in Warriors' Game 3 win

By Sports Desk May 08, 2022

Jordan Poole has refuted he "broke the code" with a play on Ja Morant that left the Memphis Grizzlies point guard an injury doubt in the Golden State Warriors 142-112 Game 3 win.

Morant posted 34 points, plus three rebounds and seven assists, but limped off with five to go in the last quarter after the Warriors man grabbed his knee in a trap near half-court.

The Warriors surged on to a blowout victory in the end, resulting in them taking a 2-1 lead in the series after they were edged out in Game 2.

That led to a fiery post-game response from the Grizzlies star, who tweeted and then deleted a video claiming that Poole "broke the code" in intentionally injuring him.

The Grizzlies are yet to formally confirm the extent of Morant's injury - but speaking afterwards, Poole knocked back suggestions his play was intended to harm his opponent.

"It was a basketball play when we doubled him," Poole said. "And I hit the ball and I was going for the ball.

"I mean, obviously, you don't want to see anybody get hurt. I'm not even that type of player. I respect everybody.

"Hopefully he gets better and, you know, we can see him out there next game. I don't even play like that for real. That's not my type of game."

Poole's grab is the latest flashpoint in a fiery series, with Memphis forward Dillon Brooks sitting out Game 3 after hitting Gary Payton II in the head, resulting in a fractured elbow.

Memphis boss Taylor Jenkins skirted an official comment on whether Poole's move on his player was intentional, instead saying: "We just watched the replay.

"He was going after a dribble and Jordan Poole actually grabbed his knee and yanked it, which kind of triggered whatever happened.

"I'm actually going to be very curious to see what happens after that. I don't know what goes through you guys' head.

"No, I didn't say that it went on purpose. I said the play happened. There was a grab. I'm just curious what happened."

The two teams meet for Game 4 on Monday at Chase Center, San Francisco once more, with the Warriors looking to go 3-1 up.

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    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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