‘That’s life’: Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert moving on from punching Kyle Anderson
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season is on the line Friday night, and center Rudy Gobert spoke publicly for the first time Thursday since watching the team’s play-in loss to the L.A. Lakers back in Minneapolis.
The Timberwolves suspended Gobert for one game after he punched teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout on the bench last Sunday during the second quarter of their 113-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Down double digits at the time Gobert and Anderson had a heated verbal exchange on the sideline. Anderson told him to start blocking shots, Gobert told him to grab a rebound.
Anderson had more words for Gobert, and he responded by punching him in the chest. The situation escalated in the halftime locker room to the point that Gobert was sent home. The two cleared the air later that night on their own terms.
"It’s life, things happen. You learn and you move on and we’ve got bigger things to accomplish than the things that happened. We’re focused on winning tomorrow and hopefully we make a playoff run," Gobert said after the Timberwolves practiced Thursday.
If there’s any concern of dissention among the team after Sunday’s incident, Gobert put it to bed.
"Of course we spoke. We spoke the same day, we both apologized to each other and you move on. That’s life. You have millions of people watch the videos and all have an opinion of things that happened. That we can’t control, what we can control is the respect we have for each other and how we handle our business," Gobert said. "I still love Kyle, that’s my brother. Sometimes you fight with your families, it’s life. No one is perfect and mistakes happen. You grow and you move on."
Gobert didn’t travel with the Timberwolves to Tuesday’s 108-102 overtime loss to the Lakers in the NBA Play-In Tournament. A win would’ve given the Timberwolves the No. 7 seed. Gobert said because of his recent back spasms, he probably wouldn’t have played anyway if he wasn’t suspended.
"Getting better every day. Still pretty sore, still not moving. I would like to be able to move, but small progress every day," Gobert said. "If the game was tonight, I would try. I would warm up and see how I felt, but I wouldn’t be able to move like I would like. If I’m out there and I can’t move, I can’t be myself."
It’s not clear if he will play Friday night as the Timberwolves host the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the winner getting the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The loser’s season is over.
"We’re hungry and we’re focused. Gotta embrace it, it’s an amazing opportunity to potentially make the playoffs. I think everybody is going to do the best they can to help the team win," Gobert said.