The Minnesota Timberwolves clinched a crucial win over the Pelicans on Sunday to skip New Orleans in the West standings and land the 8-seed, meaning they get two shots at a playoff spot via the play-in tournament.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the post-game conversation turned to anything but the win, which came at a price. Key wing-back Jaden McDaniels hit a wall and fractured his right hand, all but ensuring his absence from play-in and much of the postseason should they make it that far. Previously, Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson got into an argument during a time out on the bench, with Gobert eventually punching Anderson in the chest after being told to “shut up bitch,” with teammates quickly pushing Gobert away and the two of them parted
ESPN Sources: Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert escalated a verbal argument into a physical encounter after Kyle Anderson told him, “Shut up, bitch.” The disagreement began with Anderson telling Gobert to block some shots, Gobert him told to make a rebound – and finished with a…
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023
While nothing further happened on the pitch, the altercation was apparently not over as the two met again shortly after at half-time in the dressing room, where the exchange reportedly continued through Shams Charania and The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, Anderson announced that he would do “Get your ass out.”
The tension between Gobert and Anderson also carried over into the dressing room at half-time, with the two having heated verbal exchanges, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the events told The Athletic. Anderson and Gobert faced each other, and multiple sources said Anderson once challenged the center and said, “I’m going to blow your mind.” Teammates quickly separated them before anything got physical. According to these sources, Timberwolves veteran Mike Conley Jr. was a key factor in calming down the dressing room at halftime.
This obviously isn’t ideal for a team hoping to make the playoffs, but Gobert has apologized on Twitter and the team is hoping the fences can be repaired quickly as they play in LA on Tuesday night.
Emotions overwhelmed me today. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, no matter what was said. I want to apologize to the fans, the organization and especially Kyle who I really love and respect as a teammate.
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) April 10, 2023
As for Gobert’s status for the LA game, the Timberwolves bosses made no commitments regarding any further punishment for Gobert other than sending him home at half-time. It was notable that the Timberwolves played better without Gobert and rebounded from a double-digit deficit to beat the Pelicans, meaning a suspension isn’t out of the question and wouldn’t necessarily be an outright loss to the Lakers.