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#pounditSunday, March 3, 2024

NBA fines Rudy Gobert over officiating rant

Rudy Gobert in his Timberwolves uniform

Nov 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) dribbles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA did not find Rudy Gobert’s Fred VanVleet impression to be very amusing.

The league office announced on Friday that the Minnesota Timberwolves big man Gobert has been fined $25,000 for criticizing the officiating following Wednesday’s defeat to the Phoenix Suns. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch was also fined $15,000 for voicing similar criticisms about the refs.

Gobert, who was called for five fouls and attempted just two free throws in the 107-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns, went scorched earth on the officials afterwards. He called the league’s refereeing “bulls–t,” “disrespectful,” and “not fair.” Gobert also accused the NBA of trying to help certain big-market teams win. You can read his full comments here.

For Finch’s part, he called out the “free-throw disparity” (which was 27-12 in favor of the Suns) and said that Phoenix “doesn’t historically draw fouls at the rate they did.”

The Timberwolves have been frustrated with the officiating for much of the year. In just the last month alone, they had already lost multiple close games (to Boston, Brooklyn, and others) where the refereeing came into question. As a result, Minnesota is 39-38 and still in the play-in tournament zone.

One particular offensive foul called on Gobert during the Phoenix game seemed especially egregious.

Of course, there was no way that Gobert (or Finch for that matter) was going to escape being fined by the league for blatantly putting the officials on blast like that. In fact, they should probably consider themselves lucky since the NBA actually handed out a bigger fine for a different instance of referee criticism earlier this month.

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