T-wolves tussle as Gobert hits Anderson, out rest of game


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was sent home after throwing a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during an argument on the bench in the second quarter Sunday against New Orleans.

Gobert raised his arm toward Anderson and appeared to hit him in the chest with his hand while the team was in a huddle during a timeout. Coaches and players separated the two and Gobert was escorted to the locker room.

“I think tempers just flared,” Anderson said afterward. “That’s all.”

Anderson said he didn’t think the two would have trouble getting along moving forward.

“We want to win games. It is what it is. It ain’t the first time someone has swung on me,” he said.

President of basketball operations Tim Connelly issued a statement confirming the Timberwolves decided to send Gobert home after the second quarter flap.

“His behavior on the bench was unacceptable, and we will handle the situation internally,” said Connelly, whose first big move on the job last summer was to acquire Gobert from Utah in a blockbuster trade.

The Wolves beat the Pelicans 113-108 to finish in eighth place in the Western Conference and draw a play-in tournament matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers by moving ahead of New Orleans in the standings. They were headed to a loss and the lower seed with a lifeless first half.

After Anthony Edwards settled for a step-back 3-pointer that fell short, the Pelicans raced the other way for a dunk by Brandon Ingram for a 48-36 lead that triggered a timeout by Wolves coach Chris Finch with 4:23 remaining before halftime.

Anderson, a fiery but respected leader who has given the Wolves a big boost with his versatility and experience in his first season with the team, engaged in a heated discussion with Gobert about one of the many sequences that had gone wrong to that point.

Gobert then ended the argument by raising his arm to strike Anderson, before the two were separated and Gobert was taken back to the locker room.

The Wolves announced at halftime that Gobert and defensive ace Jaden McDaniels would not play the rest of the way. McDaniels, it turned out, had hit his hand against a wall in the tunnel that leads to the locker room out of frustration in the first quarter and did not return.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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