Three players were ejected on a tense night of action after a fight broke out inside the opening two minutes of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 104-101 In-Season Tournament victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels got into a scuffle first, yanking on each other’s jerseys and swinging each other around as the teams made their way up the floor.
Several players from both sides rushed over to get involved, before Golden State forward Draymond Green barged in to put T-Wolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock.
Thompson, with his ripped jersey, McDaniels and Green were all tossed from the game.
Gobert said after the contest that Green had behaved like a “clown.”
It’s the second time already this season that Green has been ejected after he was tossed from the Warriors’ 118-110 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
“Every time Steph doesn’t play, he [Green] doesn’t want to play without his guy Steph, so he does anything he can to get ejected,” Gobert told reporters, per ESPN.
“My first thought was just: ‘I’m not going to fight. I need to be in this game to help my team.’
“I just showed the ref that I had my hands up, and I just waited until the situation was over. Nothing more than that. It wasn’t a good enough choke to put me to sleep.”
It’s the first time in 25 years that multiple players have been ejected from a game before either team has scored a point, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game there was “no way” Thompson should have been ejected.
“That was ridiculous,” he told reporters, per ESPN. “I was upset about that. As far as the Draymond piece of it, Rudy had his hands on Klay’s neck. That’s why Draymond went after Rudy.”
Karl-Anthony Towns guided the T-Wolves to victory with a game-high 33 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Anthony Edwards added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Rookie Brandin Podziemski led the way for the Warriors, who were already missing star guard Steph Curry, with an impressive 23 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists.
Minnesota pushed late for the win, outscoring Golden State 28-18 in the fourth to rack up the Timberwolves’ seventh victory in a row, the longest win streak for the team since 2004.
The Wolves improve their regular season record to 8-2 and In-Season Tournament record to 2-0, while the Warriors fall to 6-6 and 1-1.