The Punch that Ruined the Timberwolves’ Deep Playoff Chances


Mason Moore, Contributor

Sunday, April 9th big news spread among NBA players and fans when Rudy Gobert was seen by thousands of people on live tv throwing a punch at Kyle Anderson during a timeout huddle.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were trailing the New Orleans Pelicans 36-48 with 4 minutes left in the 2nd half. The Wolves coach Chris Flinch called a timeout to settle his team and slow the opposing team’s momentum. The tensions were hot though as center Rudy Gobert and forward Kyle Anderson were yelling and exchanging some not-so-appropriate words.

At this point, Gobert completely lost character and threw a punch straight at Kyle connecting with his chest. Teammates had to hold back both players and Gobert was forced to return to the locker room. A well-known reporter Stephen A Smith labeled the actions of Gobert as, “idiotic”.  After the game, the Timberwolves’ front office assigned him a one-game suspension for his actions. This all took place in the final game of the regular season.

The Wolves did manage to squeeze out the win after that early game drama. But that meant Rudy Gobert would be suspended in the very first NBA play-in game they had against the Los Angeles Lakers. This definitely affected the Wolves as they went on to lose to the Lakers 108-102 in overtime. The main reason the Lakers won was the big performances of center Antony Davis and Forward Lebron James. Rudy definitely could have helped slow down both of these players as he is a defensive specialist. He has accumulated many defensive awards throughout his career that include NBA Defensive Player of the Year three times and All-NBA Defensive First Team six times. The Wolves still had a chance to make the playoffs after that disappointing loss which they would do after a huge victory over the OKC Thunder 120-95.

Gobert had a great game with 20 points and 10 rebounds and most importantly shared the court with Kyle Anderson and they had no more problems. He had spoken in a press conference before this game saying “I should not have reacted the way I did regardless of what was said. I wanna apologize to the fans, the organization, and particularly to Kyle, who is someone that I truly love and respect as a teammate.

It seems as if Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson have made up, but in the process of that they lost a crucial game against the Lakers. If the Timberwolves would have won this game they would be playing the 2nd seed Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. Instead of that matchup, they are facing the 1st seed Denver Nuggets who look like a much better team to this point. Everybody makes questionable decisions, this may be Rudy Gobert’s worst, but he just needs to think of the consequences before he does something and not let the heat of a game get in the way of his relationships with friends and coaches.