Andrew LopezESPN2 minute reading
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert challenged teammate Kyle Anderson during the second quarter and was escorted to the locker room during Sunday afternoon’s 113-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
After halftime, the Timberwolves announced Gobert was out for the rest of the game.
Video of the incident shows Gobert and Anderson exchanging words as the Timberwolves stand on opposite ends of the crowd. The two continued to exchange words until Gobert said something exceptional to Anderson. Gobert stepped on Timberwolves coach Chris Finch and then lunged at Anderson, appearing to hit him in the chest.
Team members went to separate the two, including Darian Prince, who pushed Gobert back. Gobert was taken to the back and some teammates, including Austin Rivers, went to check on him while he was behind.
“We have made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home after the incident that occurred in the second quarter,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in a statement after the game. “His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will deal with the situation internally.”
The incident happened with 4:23 left in the second quarter and the Wolves down by 12. Gobert was ejected from the game at that point, and Anderson took his place on the court.
The Timberwolves lost Jayden McDaniels late in the first quarter with a broken right hand, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Video captured McDaniels punching a wall while entering the tunnel, and it’s unclear if that caused the injury.
Sunday’s win moved the Timberwolves into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. They will play the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in, and the winner will play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. The loser will play for the right to play the No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets in the second play-in matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder.