The Chase Center in San Francisco was electrified, Jaden McDaniels and Klay Thompson clashed, and amidst the chaos, Rudy Gobert felt a strong arm wrap around his throat. It belonged to his longtime rival, Draymond Green. Gobert recognized him instantly as Green tried to restrain him, but the chokehold wasn’t enough to make Gobert feel truly threatened. Amidst the scuffle, Green held Gobert for nine seconds while coaches, security staff, and players tried to break them apart.
The confrontation between Gobert and Green, long-time rivals and two of the best defensive players in the league, turned violent for the first time. The scene was unexpected, yet Gobert remained unshaken, expecting Green’s ejection given the absence of his close friend, Stephen Curry. However, this incident, while surprising to observers, was not unexpected for Gobert. The confrontation stemmed from a long-standing rivalry and previous verbal altercations.
Green’s ejection along with McDaniels and Thompson for their roles in the fight managed to shock the Vikings’ home crowd and temporarily shook the energetic Golden State Warriors squad that was lacking Curry due to a knee injury. Gobert’s victory was amplified by Green’s ejection as the Timberwolves beat the Warriors 104-101. Gobert took the opportunity to publicize Green’s ejection, attempting to embarrass him after the Wolves secured their eighth season victory.
The brawl wasn’t the first instance of tension between Green and Gobert. These two players had been contenders for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, adding more edge to this explosive rivalry. This tension erupted into fierce confrontations between both teams, resulting in technical fouls and ejections.
The Warriors’ altercation with Cleveland, followed by another loss to Minnesota, set the stage for a more physical rematch, particularly without Curry. Thompson’s ejection and a subsequent altercation with Timberwolves’ McDaniels turned the game into a testy encounter. Gobert intervened to separate the escalating conflict, which led to Green trying to restrain him. Emotions remained high, with Thompson and McDaniels forcefully removed as tension lingered.
Despite the altercation, the Timberwolves managed to control the chaos and secure a victory. Gobert’s cool-headed dealing with the situation saved him from being ejected, earning the recognition of the referees. It was an opportunity for him to demonstrate his emotional maturity, while the altercation intensified the game and marked a pivotal moment for the Warriors.