April 17, 2024

Houston forward Dillon Brooks was ejected 4:33 into his first game with the Rockets for a flagrant foul 2 to the groin of Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis on Tuesday night.

Brooks said after the Rockets’ 122-103 win in their preseason opener against the visiting Pacers that he didn’t mean to strike Theis and chalked the ejection up to his reputation.

“I tried to navigate a screen,” Brooks said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I might have tapped him below waist. But he got right back up. I don’t know. It’s weird that every time it happens to me, I get picked on. I guess it’s part of reputation.”

Brooks, then with the Memphis Grizzlies, gave a similar explanation after being ejected for a flagrant foul 2 in Game 3 of last season’s playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, when he struck LeBron James in the groin.

“The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain and then that just creates a whole different persona on me,” Brooks said in April.

As for Tuesday night’s toss, Brooks said: “For a flagrant 2 foul like that, you got to know if a person is doing it on purpose or intention. That’s really going at who I am as a person. That ref, Mitch [Ervin], that just shows that he just doesn’t know who I am as a person. He’s just going off what’s been said.”

The Grizzlies opted against attempting to re-sign Brooks in free agency this summer due to his often-antagonistic antics, among other factors. He subsequently agreed to a four-year, $80 million contract with the Rockets.

Rockets coach Ime Udoka acknowledged there is a perception around Brooks.

“We love his aggressiveness and physicality,” Udoka said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “But reputations carry in the NBA and people will look for certain things. You got to monitor that better.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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