No, Jordan Poole won’t be suspended for checking on Gary Payton II

In a playoff series as contentious as the one between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, every key player’s contribution is vital. Perhaps a more cynical interpretation of this reality was on the mind of Grizzlies sideline reporter for Bally Sports, Rob Fischer, when he made the following post after Game 2 of Dubs-Grizz.

“Thinking back on G2 and Dillon Brooks Flagrant 2…,” Fischer wrote. “Warriors players left bench, including Jordan Poole, while coaches were actively trying to get them back. Wonder if that is being looked at. We saw @jaarjacksonjr suspended for same thing at @nyknicks @NBAPR @OfficialNBAREfs.”

Sure, there are rules preventing players on the bench from walking onto the court. They’re usually invoked during on-court altercations to prevent full-scale brawls from happening, and have led to some pretty famous suspensions. In 1997, Patrick Ewing and multiple others were suspended for a playoff game against the Miami Heat during a fracas. In 2007, Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were penalized for rushing to half court after Robert Horry hip-checked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table.

But those rules don’t apply here, and it’s hard to imagine why anything from that moment would be investigated beyond what Dillon Brooks did to Gary Payon II. As Steve Berman of The Athletic pointed out, there wasn’t any sort of dust-up after Brooks’ dirty play that fractured Payton’s elbow. For as much anger as there was on the sideline, no one sought out retaliation.

Poole leaving the bench area after the whistle was blown would, at worst, result in a technical foul, but that would only apply if for some reason officials believed him checking on his clearly injured teammate was “detrimental to the game.”

By comparison, the incident that led to the Jaren Jackson Jr. suspension referenced in Fischer’s tweet involved a notable altercation among multiple players. Jackson left the bench area to try and defend his then-teammate Jae Crowder which, while a noble choice, is explicitly against the rules.

It’s certainly one thing for a fan to post a tweet this silly, and entirely another for a member of the media to snitch-tag league authorities in what is a rather clear attempt to get one of Golden State’s best players in trouble. If nothing else, Fisher’s attempt should be ridiculed because it was made after the Grizzlies won Game 2, 106-101.

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