Rudy Gobert has three NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, but to hear some of the Timberwolves tell it, they weren't all that impressed with the Utah center, even though Gobert helped lead Utah to a convincing 136-104 victory Wednesday night.
Gobert wasn't guarding Karl-Anthony Towns most of the night, at least not by himself. Utah employed a tactic it tried last year in guarding Towns with a smaller four, in this case Bojan Bogdanovic. Gobert would come over to double team or he would be free to challenge the Wolves at the rim.
The Wolves struggled scoring in the paint (they shot 18 of 41). Anthony Edwards said he didn't understand why Gobert can be so menacing.
"I think he was in people's heads," Edwards said. "He wasn't even blocking shots, I don't think. People was just going to the rim and they were like oh they got Rudy Gobert. I'm telling them, 'Bruh he's the same as anybody else.' "
Edwards then said the best rim protector in the league was Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis, not Gobert.
"Anytime I go against Porzingis, I don't get no layups. I don't get why we couldn't finish on Rudy Gobert. He don't put no fear in my heart. I don't know why."
Edwards wasn't the only one giving some shade on Pride Night at Target Center.
Patrick Beverley questioned why Gobert wouldn't want to take the challenge of guarding Towns himself and instead allow Bogdanovic to do it.
"If I'm defensive player of the year, I'm always guarding the best player no matter what," Beverley said. "I'm not roaming. It's no discredit to [Utah's] Royce O'Neale or any of the others on their team, but if I'm Defensive Player of the Year, I'm not guarding Royce O'Neale. I'm guarding Mike Conley, I'm guarding Donovan Mitchell, I'm guarding Bogdanovic.
He then added, "You got Rudy Gobert out there guarding [Jarred] Vanderbilt. And every time I hear he's defensive player of the year. So, whatever."
Beverley played 23 minutes in his return from a left adductor strain and scored 16 points. Beverley said he felt "good" after the game.
"Wind was OK. Body felt good. Body felt good. We have a really good training staff, so I was real confident coming back out here today."
Coach Chris Finch said it looked like Beverley had returned to form.
"He looked great. He looked really good. Really, really good. Pushed the pace, set the tone, played off the catch, got to the heart of the defense, took Gobert on early. We just needed more guys to play like that, and they didn't."