Rudy Gobert sent home at half by Timberwolves after he punched teammate Kyle Anderson
The Minnesota Timberwolves are headed to Los Angeles as the No. 8 seed to take on the Lakers in the play-in tournament, but star center Rudy Gobert may not be with them and defender Jaden McDaniels is out for sure with a fractured hand.
Gobert proved to be the dark cloud over what should have been a celebratory night in Minnesota. During a second-quarter timeout, Gobert started arguing with teammate Kyle Anderson while coach Chris Finch sat between them and tried to address the team. Then Gobert reached over Finch and punched Anderson in the chest (not with much force, but still a punch).
Taurean Prince was first to push Gobert back and separate the two, then other coaches and players stepped in. Gobert was walked back to the locker room and sent home.
ESPN Sources: Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert escalated a verbal argument to a physical encounter after Kyle Anderson told him to “Shut the f--- up, bitch.” The disagreement started with Anderson telling Gobert to block some shots, Gobert telling him to grab a rebound – and ended with a…— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023
“Obviously it was very frustrating, you know, a couple blown assignments,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said of what caused the fight. “A lot on the line tonight. We’re not proud of that behavior by anybody. We really haven’t dug too far into like the root cause of it. But guys are just frustrated. We weren’t playing well. We weren’t sharing the ball. We weren’t you know, we’re getting beat and all the little areas. I mean, we look sluggish, like you will want to back to back but I think the gravity of the game made it feel like you know, we were in a little bit of panic mode...
“It’s certainly not something that we condone. I mean, veterans can get upset too. So I don’t want to be too hard on him. But obviously, it’s not something we’re going to be able to tolerate here.”
Statement from ‘Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly on Rudy Gobert: “We made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home after the incident in the second quarter. His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will continue handling the situation internally.”— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) April 9, 2023
Gobert later apologized on Twitter.
Emotions got the best of me today. I should not have reacted the way i did regardless of what was said. I wanna apologize to the fans, the organisation and particularly to Kyle, who is someone that i truly love and respect as a teammate.— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) April 10, 2023
The Timberwolves have not decided what the punishment for Gobert will be or if he will miss Tuesday’s play-in game against the Lakers.
Anderson is a veteran, vocal leader on the Timberwolves, but his blunt style can sometimes rub guys the wrong way. Gobert talked about that to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune before the game.
Jaden McDaniels — a key defender for the Timberwolves, a guy they needed against the Lakers Tuesday — will be out for that game after fracturing his hand, apparently while punching a wall after he was taken out following a foul call he didn’t like in the second quarter, Andrian Wojnarowski reports.
Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels -- who was seen punching a wall on his way to the halftime locker room – has a fractured hand, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023
Towns scored 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting and Anthony Edwards added 26 to get the Timberwolves a critical win Sunday. With it, they enter the play-in needing to win one of two games to make the playoffs (either Tuesday against the Lakers in Los Angeles, or if they lose that the Timberwolves face the winner of the Pelicans Thunder matchup for a win-or-go-home second chance game (the winner would be the eighth seed and face the Timberwolves).