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Gobert fined $100K by NBA for gesture, criticism of officiating

LOS ANGELES – Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert told reporters after Friday's loss at Cleveland that he was willing to accept a fine for making a money gesture at officials and publicly criticizing them.

The NBA made sure it was a hefty one.

The league fined Gobert $100,000 on Sunday, both for his gesture toward referee Scott Foster after fouling out and for his comments to reporters following the Wolves' 113-104 overtime loss to the Cavaliers. That gesture — in which Gobert rubbed his fingers together, making a money sign — resulted in a technical foul. In his comments, Gobert implied that the rise of sports betting was having an influence over how officials call games.

"I'll bite the bullet again," Gobert told reporters in Cleveland. "I'll be the bad guy. I'll take the fine, but I think it's hurting our game. I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn't feel that way."

The fine is the maximum the league could levy under the collective bargaining agreement and in a statement, it said it took into account Gobert's past instances of criticizing officials. This is his fourth fine overall, and he was fined $25,000 last season for comments after a loss to the Suns.

The league also called his gesture toward Foster "inappropriate and unprofessional."

Gobert sat out Sunday night's loss to the Lakers because of right hamstring tightness, after being listed as questionable before the game. Also missing the game was Kyle Anderson (right shoulder pain), who had been starting for the injured Karl-Anthony Towns. That meant Naz Reid started for the first time in 65 games this season.

Finch returns

Wolves coach Chris Finch was back on the sidelines after missing Friday's game because of an illness. Assistant coach Micah Nori took over head coaching duties while Finch was out.

"I thought everybody did an unbelievable job. Gave ourselves a chance to win in tough circumstances," Finch said. "We got to play a little cleaner down the stretch and we win that game. … The staff did an excellent job. Nothing I would've done particularly different or better and I told them go coach the game like it's yours."

It was the first game Finch missed in his three-plus seasons as Wolves coach.