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Rudy Gobert comes into flow for the Timberwolves on offense but continues to preach on defense

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch called for the first offensive play of the game for center Rudy Gobert.

This was to “show him some love,” as Finch put it, after Gobert beat Miami on Monday without registering a shot attempt.

Gobert missed on that shot, but it was one of just two penalties in 11 attempts for Gobert as he had 21 points in Wolves’ fifth straight win over the Pacers in Indianapolis.

“He kept breaking up on the reel and the guys always did a good job of finding him,” said Finch. “I really found him throughout the game.”

This comes after Gobert drew the attention of the fanbase Monday after urging fans at Target Center not to boo the team at their first games together. He preached patience to his teammates earlier in the season, and his words to fans echo what he’s said since preseason.

“As a fan you have to support your team in the difficult moments or in the good moments,” said Gobert on Monday. “There hasn’t been a team in NBA history that has only had good moments. So if you don’t support us in the difficult moments, just stay at home. I think if you hug us in the difficult moments then come and we will love the support.”

Wednesday was one of the good moments. It was the best the Wolves have looked all season and the most natural Gobert has looked to be part of the lineup at either end of the parquet.

But just because Gobert preaches patience doesn’t mean he’s complacent and just waiting for things to click into place.

Finch said Gobert is an “adult in the room” when it comes to his professionalism. Gobert isn’t afraid to demand accountability, especially on defense.

“He recognizes the defensive potential that is inherent in the individual,” Finch said. “He keeps pushing them to be really good in that department. He helps them with many little things. Little habits. Little tricks of the trade, if you will, that also help our defense system.”

Finch appreciates the extra voice that accentuates this end of the floor.

“He’s on them in most timeout huddles to keep playing defense,” Finch said. “When you have a bunch of guys who are natural goalscorers, you need someone to remind them how important defense is too. It can’t always be just me. He was really great in all facets of that.”

Gobert ranked the Wolves the 10th most efficient defense in the NBA, kicking off Thursday. Getting Gobert into the natural rhythm of offense has been a work in progress all season, but things looked crisp on Wednesday. Instead of forcing the ball to Gobert, Wolves found it open as a product of their ball and player movement. It resulted in some of the easiest baskets Gobert had all season.

Wednesday painted the clearest picture of what Wolves could be and what Gobert can do for them if the team performs at a high level.

“We understand the value of Rudy on both ends of the floor,” said Finch. “He’s a big threat on the perimeter. He pulls a lot of fouls. He’s been tremendous for us on defense. It just takes a while.”

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