The Minnesota Timberwolves had a rough go of it in the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, and the frustration boiled over during a wild bench incident between Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson. Gobert and Anderson were caught on camera arguing on the bench, with things really heating up when Gobert threw a punch at his Timberwolves teammate. The two had to be separated.
Check out this crazy incident:
Rudy Gobert throws a shot at teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout. pic.twitter.com/dRzi3ALkoJ
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 9, 2023
Gobert was escorted to the back after being separated from Anderson. The Timberwolves center didn’t return to the game for the rest of the half and was sent home, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The Pelicans jumped out to a 13-point lead in the opening half before settling on an eight-point advantage at halftime.
This Pelicans-Timberwolves game has implications for the Western Conference play-in picture. Eighth-seeded New Orleans entered the game with a 42-39 record, with ninth-seeded Minnesota right behind them at 41-40. The Los Angeles Lakers hold the No. 7 seed with a 42-39 record, but they should be able to grab a win Sunday over the Utah Jazz to get to 43-39.
If the Timberwolves are able to come back and defeat the Pelicans, they would get at least the No. 8 seed, which would be a huge advantage over the 9/10 play-in game. If the Lakers somehow lost to the Jazz and Minnesota won, they would get the No. 7 seed. But if the Timberwolves lose to New Orleans, they would play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 9/10 game and need two wins to reach the playoffs.
This Rudy Gobert-Kyle Anderson incident was wild, and we’ll see if Minnesota can get past this adversity without Gobert in this game. It will also be interesting to see if Gobert faces any further discipline. Could he be suspended for a play-in tournament game?