In the aftermath of a heated altercation during the Minnesota Timberwolves' narrow 104-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Rudy Gobert didn't hesitate to express his views. The 7-foot center took the opportunity to verbally spar with Draymond Green, who faces potential NBA discipline following the incident.
Green's ejection early in the game for placing Gobert in a chokehold, a move that has sparked widespread controversy, came before either team had scored. With the Warriors next facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, the NBA is expected to announce its decision on Green's fate soon, as noted by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
This decision will be based on a thorough review of the incident, including video analysis and interviews. Gobert, who played a crucial role in his team's win with nine points, 13 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks in 35 minutes, avoided any technical fouls during the scuffle.
This contrasted with the ejections of his teammate Jaden McDaniels and Warriors' Klay Thompson. Reflecting on the incident, Gobert described Green's actions as "clown behavior," stating that he restrained his reaction, knowing his team needed him.
Green's Ejection Pattern
The confrontation, captured in a photo by Jed Jacobsohn of the Associated Press, showed Gobert in the midst of the altercation with Thompson and Green. Gobert speculated that Green, motivated by the absence of teammate Stephen Curry due to a sprained knee, intentionally sought ejection.
He observed a pattern in Green's behavior, noting that the Warrior's intensity often diminishes without Curry. Green's record of 18 career ejections, with a notable increase during Curry's absences, supports Gobert's claims.
Since Curry's injury in November 2019, Green's ejections have frequently coincided with games missed by Curry. Gobert also criticized Green's physical tactics, downplaying the effectiveness of the chokehold and highlighting his own efforts to de-escalate the situation.
His remarks underscored the seriousness of Green's actions, suggesting a deliberate attempt to injure. Meanwhile, Warriors coach Steve Kerr defended Green and Thompson, shifting blame onto the Timberwolves and specifically calling out McDaniels' role in Thompson's ejection.
As the NBA deliberates on the incident, parallels are drawn to Green's suspension in a previous season for aggressive conduct against Domantas Sabonis. Joe Dumars, NBA's executive vice president, had then emphasized Green's history as a "repeat offender." The league's decision will not only impact Green's immediate future but also set a precedent for handling on-court physical confrontations.