Well, the Minnesota Timberwolves' chances of beating the Los Angeles Lakers in their play-in matchup on Tuesday just got bleaker. After during the Wolves' regular season finale on Sunday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Minnesota has suspended Rudy Gobert for one game making him unavailable for Tuesday night's matchup.
Although Gobert will miss Tuesday's game, Wojnarowski reports that if the Timberwolves lose to the Lakers he will be available to play against the winner of the Pelicans-Thunder matchup. Despite it only being a one-game suspension, it's still a significant blow for the Timberwolves, who will also be without defensive stalwart Jaden McDaniels after he fractured his hand punching a wall at halftime of their regular season finale.
The Gobert-Anderson incident took place during a timeout in the second quarter of their 113-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Minnesota head coach Chris Finch tried to address the team during the timeout, and Anderson and Gobert got involved in a heated discussion that centered on defense and rebounding. After Anderson told Gobert "shut the f--- up b----," the three-time Defensive Player of the Year threw a punch at Anderson's chest, though it did not land with much force.
The two were quickly separated, and while Anderson finished out the game, Gobert was sent home by the team. Wolves guard Mike Conley said that Gobert apologized to the team via text message, and said that "We'll speak about it and move on." Gobert also tweeted out an apology Sunday evening, saying his emotions got the best of him.
"Emotions got the best of me today," Gobert wrote. "I should not have reacted the way I did regardless of what was said. I wanna apologize to the fans, the organization and particularly to Kyle, who is someone that I truly love and respect as a teammate."
Without Gobert patrolling the paint against the Lakers, it'll leave a big hole in Minnesota's offense, one that the Lakers will be able to exploit. It was already going to be an uphill battle for the Timberwolves to beat the Lakers, but now without Gobert in addition to McDaniels, the chances of them winning look even slimmer.