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Gobert fined for payoff gesture


NEW YORK (AFP) — Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was fined $100,000 by the National Basketball Association on Sunday for criticizing officiating and making an inappropriate gesture at a game referee.

The punishment came for conduct by the 7-foot-1 Frenchman in the final seconds of regulation time in Minnesota’s 113-104 overtime loss at Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations, said the fine against 31-year-old Gobert “takes into account Gobert’s past instances of conduct detrimental to the NBA with regard to publicly criticizing the officiating.”

Gobert was whistled for a technical foul when he rubbed his fingers together several times, a money-sorting gesture hinting the official might be getting special payoffs for calls such as the one against him.

After being called for a sixth foul and disqualified from the game, Gobert made the gesture toward the official and was whistled for the technical, which allowed Cleveland to pull level and force overtime.

Gobert later said his loss of composure cost the T-Wolves the game but added that increased sports betting was hurting the game.

“I’ll take the fine but I think it’s hurting our game,” Gobert said. “I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger but it shouldn’t feel that way.”

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