Rudy Gobert implies gambling influenced refs after costly tech for making money sign

Like in every game, there were many reasons why the Minnesota Timberwolves lost 113-104 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. One of them was a hilarious Rudy Gobert technical foul.

The fun began with Minnesota leading 97-96 in the final minute of regulation, when Anthony Edwards missed a jump shot to extend the lead. Gobert was fighting two defenders for the rebound and was judged to have fought a little too hard, receiving a foul after getting the ball with an easy dunk in front of him.

It was Gobert's sixth foul, ending his night with seven points and 17 rebounds.

That was the bad for the Timberwolves. The worse came immediately after, as one official noticed Gobert making the sign for money with his hands, the implication clearly being the refs had been bribed. That earned Gobert a technical foul on his way out, giving the Cavaliers an immediate chance to tie the game.

Darius Garland made the free throw, tying the game. Both teams failed to score in the remaining 28 seconds, sending the game to overtime, where the Cavaliers got the win.

Gobert, never one to hide his feelings in postgame interviews, threw some more lighter fluid on the fire later by suggesting the officials had been influenced by sports betting, via The Athletic:

“My reaction, which I think is truth — it’s what I truly believe — even if it’s the truth, it wasn’t the time for me to react that way,” Gobert said afterward. “I should have not done that. I cost my team the game, and obviously, they couldn’t wait to give me a tech. That was bad. That was an immature reaction.”

Asked to clarify what he believes, Gobert said: “I made some mistakes. I air-balled a dunk. Mistakes happen. Referees make mistakes, too. But sometimes I think it’s more than mistakes. I think everyone that’s in this league knows. I think it’s got to get better.”

Gobert said he fully expects to be fined for his comments, for being “the bad guy again that speaks what I think is the truth.”

But he said he felt compelled to speak his mind because “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,” Gobert said.

Gobert is accurate in that he will get fined for those comments.

Meanwhile, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, who was filling in as head coach due to Chris Finch feeling ill, wasn't a fan of how Gobert ended his night:

"Down the stretch ... we got to be better. A technical foul with 27 seconds to go in the game is, quite honestly, unacceptable. That's not who Rudy is, but at the end of this one, just got to be smarter."

There were plenty of other reasons the Timberwolves lost. Anthony Edwards followed up his 44-point night by going scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime, shooting 0-for-8 from the field. As a team, Minnesota shot 8-for-30 from 3-point range, which is wild because Naz Reid shot 7-of-11 from deep. The rest of the team made only one other 3-pointer the whole game.

But shooting is hard. Anyone can simply not antagonize the officials after fouling out.