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Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert appears to make money gesture at official after call; suggests betting problem in NBA

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was issued a costly technical foul in his team’s game on Friday night after appearing to make a money gesture towards an official following a controversial call.

Gobert was called for his sixth foul, and therefore ejected, with under 30 seconds remaining of the Timberwolves’ clash against the Cleveland Cavaliers and with his team leading by just a point.

The awarding of the offensive foul was a decision Gobert and his teammates disputed and in the aftermath, cameras caught the incredulous Frenchman rubbing his thumbs and forefingers together, a gesture often associated with money.

The gesture appeared to be directed at referee Scott Foster who had handed out the foul. And although Foster missed it, his fellow official Natalie Sago saw Gobert’s actions and gave a technical foul to Gobert.

As a result, the Cavaliers were given a free-throw for the technical foul which Darius Garland converted, leveling the scores and sending the game to overtime. The Timberwolves went onto lose 113-104 in overtime.

After the game, Gobert acknowledged that he made a mistake in reacting the way he did, saying that his “immature reaction” cost his team the game.

But he also went onto suggest that sports betting is influencing the way NBA games are being officiated.

“I’ll bite the bullet again,” Gobert said, per ESPN. “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.”

CNN has reached out to the NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association for comment.

According to Gobert, the officiating was not up to scratch for the whole evening.

“It’s not just one call,” the 31-year-old said. “Everyone makes mistakes, but when it’s over and over and over again, of course it’s frustrating.”

Gobert finished with seven points, 17 rebounds and two blocked shots in 37 minutes played.

“A technical foul with 27 seconds in the game, to be honest, is unacceptable,” Minnesota assistant coach Micah Nori, who was filling in for head coach Chris Finch due to illness, said. “That’s not who Rudy is, but you’ve got to be smart. … He made a visual that was [an] automatic [technical].”

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