Crew Chief Tyler Ford explained in the game’s pool report that Thompson’s action merited an ejection while Gobert did not because he acted as a pacifier.
“Both [Thompson and Jaden McDaniels] were involved in an altercation that didn’t immediately dissolve and their actions warranted an ejection,” Ford said in the official NBA pool report.
“Gobert was attempting to separate Thompson and McDaniels and was ruled to be a peacemaker. We reviewed all other players and acts and no other unsportsmanlike acts were observed,” Ford added.
As for Green, it was a different story.
“He aggressively puts Gobert in a headlock and refuses to let go. This is unnecessary and excessive conduct which meets the standard for a flagrant foul penalty 2,” Ford said.
The altercation occurred with still 10:17 left in the first quarter. Thompson and Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels ignited it when they started pulling and shoving each other after a missed Timberwolves attempt.
It quickly escalated after Gobert grabbed Thompson from behind. Green charged to the scene putting Gobert in a chokehold and violently dragged him away.
Thompson’s jersey was ripped during the altercation.
Thompson and McDaniel were assessed with double technical fouls while Green was hit with a Flagrant Foul-Penalty 2.
Steve Kerr Upset of Klay Thompson’s Ejection
Kerr cried foul over the game officials’ decision to eject Thompson.
“There’s no way Klay Thompson should have been thrown out of the game,” Kerr told reporters after their 104-101 loss to the Timberwolves Tuesday night.
“I mean, he’s running up the floor and [Jaden McDaniels] grabs his jersey and he’s pulling on him and so Klay pulls back. No way Klay should have been ejected. That was ridiculous! So I was upset about that.”
Kevon Looney was shocked Thompson was ejected, too.
“I was shocked that it happened early in the game. I didn’t think Klay should have been ejected. Somebody tried to attack him and I was surprised Gobert walked away with nothing [called on him],” Looney told reporters after the game.
Rudy Gobert Defends Himself
Gobert told The Athletic he was trying to de-escalate the situation when he grabbed Thompson.
“I do a lot of work — meditation work, things like that,” Gobert told The Athletic. “So I was like, ‘It’s a good opportunity for me to show that I can overcome my emotions and then be the bigger man. And my team needs me in the game. So I had to keep my emotions away and really focus on the game.’ ”
The officials agreed based on their decision not to hit him with a technical foul and their explanation in the pool report.
But for the Warriors, they did not see it that way.
“If you watch the replay, Rudy had his hands on Klay’s neck and that’s why Draymond went after Rudy, and that’s how I saw one replay right after it happened,” Kerr said. “Guys on the back of the bench were telling us that Rudy had Klay and that’s why Draymond went after Rudy, so that’s all I know. But it was a bizarre way to start the game a minute and a half in.”