Rudy Gobert has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for two seasons running, but there’s one team he has more success against than anyone else: the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Gobert had 75 blocks against the Timberwolves in 24 games going into Wednesday night’s contest, more than any other team. Portland is in second place with 62 blocks against. Why Minnesota more than anyone else?
“They attack me more. You know, a lot of teams don’t even try to attack me, so it’s harder for me to block the shot," Gobert said. "These guys, they’re very athletic, they’re a really aggressive team.”
One of those athletic players is Andrew Wiggins, and the pair have had a back-and-forth dunk and block contest against each other since 2015.
Does Gobert prefer to play against teams that are aggressive in attacking him?
“Definitely,” he says. “But if they don’t go at me, it’s like a win. It’s a win both ways. Some games I feel like I’m a little late so I might get a block, but maybe I’m not playing as well as if I’m early and they don’t even get a shot.”
But this Minnesota matchup came for Gobert at an interesting time: Coming into Wednesday’s game he had recorded zero blocks for three consecutive games, the first time that’s happened since Feb. 26 to March 2 of his rookie season. Of course, back then, he played hardly at all: six minutes, four minutes, and four seconds in the final contest.
Playing against the Wolves proved to be the prescription needed. He finished with two blocks, which came within a minute of one another in the third quarter. The first? A Wiggins layup attempt.
Minnesota’s Jarret Culver’s brother scores 100 points in a game
Wayland Baptist senior J.J. Culver drew the attention of the basketball world on Tuesday night when he scored 100 points in his NAIA team’s 124-60 win over Southwestern Adventist.
Culver shot 34 of 62 from the field for the game, including 12 of 33 from the 3-point line. He also made 20 of 27 free throws, added nine rebounds, one assist, five steals and two blocks.
His younger brother, Jarrett Culver, now starts for the Timberwolves after being picked No. 6 overall in the 2019 NBA draft. He got a text from family when his brother had 24 in the first quarter, and kept his eye on the box score from then on out.
“I felt like I dropped 100 the way I was celebrating for him,” Jarrett said. “I’m super excited for him and he deserves it.”