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Draymond Green Was Looking For Any Reason To Put Rudy Gobert In A Chokehold

In Tuesday's game between the Timberwolves and Warriors, a torn jersey and enthusiastic chokehold preceded any points on the scoreboard.

With 10:20 left in the first quarter, Klay Thompson held onto the front of Jaden McDaniels's jersey as a rebound hung in the air. It was fairly standard and inconsequential contact, but the two players tangled as they made their way down the floor, and McDaniels ripped Thompson's jersey in the scuffle. Minnesota center Rudy Gobert attempted to pull Thompson away from the fight. Draymond Green—who likely views every game against the Timberwolves as a legalistic puzzle where the goal is to chart a justifiable path to putting Rudy Gobert in a chokehold—put Rudy Gobert in a chokehold. Several Warriors staffers, including head coach Steve Kerr, screamed at the 6-foot-6 Green to stop as he dragged the 7-foot-1 Gobert along the hardwood.

Green, Thompson, and McDaniels were all ejected from the game. With Steph Curry already inactive due to a knee injury, the Warriors gave 39 minutes to rookie Brandin Podziemski, who put up a respectable line of 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. The Timberwolves won, 104-101.

Green and Gobert are two of the best defensive players of the last decade—Gobert as a more traditional rim deterrent, and Green as a switchable, undersized, long-armed savant. Gobert has won Defensive Player of the Year three times, while Green has (somehow only) won it once. Perhaps this partially explains why Green relishes all of Gobert's misfortune. He teased Gobert for crying when the center was snubbed from the All-Star team in 2019, then brought it up again on a TNT broadcast three years later. "You keep mentioning me in the same sentence with him,” Green said during the 2022 All-Star Game. “We're not alike." 

When Green punched his teammate Jordan Poole before the start of the 2022 season, Gobert posted a thinly veiled tweet: "Insecurity is always loud." When the two teams played last November, Green stood and laughed over Gobert after the big man turned over the ball and fell down. In the last game of the regular season, it was Gobert's turn to punch his own teammate Kyle Anderson, and Green posted a familiar message: "Insecurity is always loud…" He later reflected on the incident in on his bone-chillingly tedious podcast: "I personally think Rudy Gobert is a little on the softer side myself. He gained a little respect from me, because he stood up for himself," Green said. "Didn’t know the guy was capable of standing up for himself."

Draymond Green apologism has been a key piece of Kerr's job description for the better part of a decade, and in last night's postgame presser, he bravely followed his dharma. "If you watch the replay, Rudy had his hands on Klay's neck. That's why Draymond went after Rudy," Kerr said. There's always something cute about watching Warriors employees and fans protest as if Green is officiated unfairly, as if he doesn't already operate under his own singular standard that allows him to yap incessantly and gouge sensitive bits with minimal blowback. They're too far gone to ever see this issue clearly.

Green did not speak to the press. Gobert had a pretty good line about his assailant: “Every time Steph doesn’t play, he doesn’t want to play without his guy Steph, so he does anything he can to get ejected.” The Warriors and Timberwolves won't square up again until March 24.

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