Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert makes ‘money sign’ at official and implies betting in NBA is a problem

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with referee Natalie Sago (9) after being called for a technical foul in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, March 8, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with referee Natalie Sago (9) after being called for a technical foul in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, March 8, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Rudy Gobert’s money gesture toward an official likely will draw the NBA’s wrath.

Minnesota’s center said his reaction was worth every penny.

Gobert was called for a technical foul in the closing seconds of regulation Friday night in the Timberwolves’ 113-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers when he rubbed his fingers together several times, implying referee Scott Foster might be on the take.

After being whistled for his sixth foul and being ejected, Gobert stayed on the floor and made the gesture as Foster was going to the scorer’s table. Foster didn’t see Gobert, but official Natalie Sago did and issued the technical on Gobert.

Following the game, Gobert, who has a reputation for being outspoken, didn’t deny what he did and went further in saying gambling could be having a major impact on the outcome of games.

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

Gobert’s actions and remarks almost certainly will be reviewed by the league. He faces a possible fine and suspension.

His technical allowed the Cavaliers to tie the game.

Minnesota assistant Micah Nori, who filled in when Timberwolves coach Chris Finch fell ill just before tipoff, was critical of Gobert’s behavior.

“A technical foul with 27 seconds in the game, to be honest, is unacceptable,” Nori said. “That’s who Rudy is, but you’ve got to be smart. He made a visual that was automatic. He was obviously frustrated — both teams were — but we have to be smarter.”

Gobert, who finished with 17 rebounds in 37 minutes, agreed he has to keep his composure.

“My reaction, which I think was the truth, but it wasn’t the time to react that way,” the 7-foot-1 center said. “It cost my team the game. It was an immature reaction.”

As far as Gobert was concerned, the officiating crew was bad the entire game.

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

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