Lakers express frustration after loss, another run-in with Rockets’ Dillon Brooks

It’s the same as it ever was for the Los Angeles Lakers when they face forward Dillon Brooks, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies and now of the Houston Rockets.Dillon Brooks defends LeBron James

Let’s start with the game, in which the Rockets mostly cruised on their way to a 135-119 home victory on Monday. Just when the Lakers finally get something going, they go out and stink up the place.

That was the case again in this one — though LA made a token run near the end.

Along the way, Brooks agitated Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt into an ejection and “accidentally” hit nemesis LeBron James in the face, sending James to the court for a couple of minutes. (Some have criticized James for what they believe was a dramatization of the events.)

This is the same type of stuff that used to happen when Brooks was a member of the Grizzlies, who let him walk to the Rockets in free agency for nothing over the summer.

Anyway, things began to escalate between Brooks and Vanderbilt when Brooks gave him a shove from behind near the basket. Vanderbilt was called for technicals on two separate occasions, each involving Brooks, leading to Vanderbilt being tossed.

One Lakers player told Dave McMenamin of ESPN that Brooks called Vanderbilt “a p—y” during one of the exchanges.

“He’s going for a wide-open dunk and [Brooks] just pushed him in the back,” Lakers big man Anthony Davis said. “It’s not a safe play. Guys get hurt like that. And you got to know what type of player [Brooks] is. [The referees] kind of let that just keep going on and [Brooks] kind of provoked it. 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.”

Vanderbilt left without speaking to reporters and James quickly cut off a question about Brooks at his postgame press conference.

Meanwhile, Brooks told the media that Vanderbilt escalated things.

“I feel like he may feel like I did a dirty play,” Brooks said. “When he feels that way, he likes to bump. It’s basketball. We bump and tussle. I feel like he took it a little too far.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham suggested it was Brooks who should’ve been given the ol’ heave-ho.

“Being competitive is one thing,” Ham said. “But … putting players at risk of injury with certain plays — I just watched it again [on video] before I came in here, [Brooks] pushes him in the back, a guy that’s in the air. Airborne, defenseless. Then Bron’s play, Bron goes to the basket and it’s a double move with his arms. One arm trying to deflect the ball and it goes back and then it goes across [James’] face.

“So maybe Dillon Brooks shouldn’t have been in the game, either.”

Davis agreed.

“I mean, you take a hard foul,” Davis said. “That’s part of basketball, but you are just not going to blatantly push someone in their back when they have no control of their body and they are in the air. And he should have gotten ejected for that. And then you know him and Bron have their [collision] and from what I saw, it was just a blatant hit to LeBron to his face.”

The Lakers (24-24) visit the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, where they will square off with guard Dejounte Murray, a guard LA reportedly has made a play for ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

Davis will miss the game with a heel injury, the Lakers said.

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