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Timberwolves Suspend Rudy Gobert for Play-In Game Against Lakers

The three-time All-Star did not travel with the team to Los Angeles and will be out for the Wolves’ biggest game of the season.

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves have suspended three-time All-Star center Rudy Gobert for Tuesday’s Play-In game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the aftermath of his on-court altercation with forward Kyle Anderson, according to multiple reports. Gobert did not make the trip with the team to L.A.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Gobert will serve a one-game suspension and be eligible to return for either a second Play-In game in Minneapolis on Friday or the first round of the NBA Playoffs, depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.

Our friend Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported that it is a team-imposed suspension and came to the decision after reviewing the situation and continuing discussions about the incident into Monday morning before making a decision.

“We made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home after the incident in the second quarter,” Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said Sunday after the Timberwolves’ 113-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will continue handling the situation internally.”

Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch agreed with a question asking if the situation was disappointing given that Gobert is a 30-year-old veteran expected to be a key leader who sets a positive example for third-year players in Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels.

“It certainly is. It’s not something we condone. Veterans can get upset, too, so I don’t want to be too hard on him,” Finch said postgame on Sunday. “But obviously it’s not something we’re going to be able to tolerate here. And I’m sure he’s already remorseful. I haven’t had a chance to speak with him about it.”

“Tempers flare. You’re in the middle of the game, a game we want to win, a huge one. It is what it is. Shit happens. It’s not the first time something like that has happened,” Anderson said of the incident. “That’s all. It is what it is. We’ll speak about it and move on. We’re grown men. It is what it is. Just move on.”

Does Slow-Mo believe that he and Gobert can move past it?

“Ah, yeah. It is what it is, and move forward. We want to win games. It is what it is. It ain’t the first time someone has swung on me. It is what it is. We keep it in-house.”

The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski reported on Sunday that longtime Gobert teammate and leader of the team Mike Conley played a key role in de-escalating the situation ‘before anything turned physical’ and getting the team re-focused to go out and win the game in the second half.

Gobert apologized for his actions on Sunday night via Twitter:

Now, Timberwolves’ task turns to gearing up to battle LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and D’Angelo Russell without two of the NBA’s premier defenders and with a very short bench that is already without Naz Reid, who fractured his left wrist two weeks ago in Phoenix.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Minnesota is +7.5 for the contest, which tips off Tuesday night at 9:30 PM CT on TNT.