Timberwolves turn pugilists
There was another turning point for the Timberwolves. Once more, it became a very controversial event for the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that was still trying to find its way. Well, finding its way meant all hands on deck. Despite fighting through back spasms, center Rudy Gobert suited up for the final game, a contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Win, and the Minnesota Timberwolves would end up the season as the eighth-seeded team in the NBA Western Conference. Lose, and the Timberwolves would fall to the ninth-seeded team. That designation carried a distinct advantage. The eighth seed would need to win just one game in the NBA Play-In Tournament and could climb to the seventh seed with a win in Game 1 of the Play-In Tournament. The ninth seed would need to win two consecutive games in the NBA Play-In Tournament and could end the season no better than the eighth seed in the conference.
Two punches thrown become two players gone
Problems began in the final game of the season when a pain-tormented Gobert was not playing to his full potential. That drew harsh criticism from his teammate, Kyle Anderson, who wanted to win the game. As Adrian Wojnaroskie recapped, words heated up into a physical altercation:
Fists flew. Well, one punch from Gobert landed on Slo Mo’s chest. That was enough to send Rudy Gobert home for the rest of that game. But that was not the only punch throw. A very frustrated Jaden McDaniels stormed into the Target Center tunnel and threw a punch at the wall. Not surprisingly, when his fist contacted the concrete wall, he shattered his hand. Two punches thrown by Minnesota Timberwolves resulted in two players gone in that game.
In spite of becoming surprisingly short-handed, the Timberwolves would get hot and win the game. That victory came at a high cost, it seemed. Not only was the team forced to suspend center Rudy Gobert for a game, but the team lost defensive star Jaden McDaniels at the worst possible moment.
And the antics in front of the Timberwolves fans at Target Center paved the way for what came next: