Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Dan Roberts' voice boomed throughout Vivint Arena.
"Rudy Gobert has been given a technical and is ejected. Donovan Mitchell has been given a technical and ejected. Joe Ingles has been given a technical and ejected."
At that point, the game was already pretty much over. The Indiana Pacers had outplayed a sluggish Utah Jazz team, but those ejections late in the fourth quarter definitely wrapped things up. Though the final result — a 111-100 Indiana win — was far from everyone's mind as Gobert, Mitchell and Ingles left the court late in the fourth quarter.
So what happened?
It started when Gobert thought he was fouled by Indiana center Myles Turner during a dive to the basket. When the whistle didn't come, Gobert reached out and pulled Turner to the ground by the shorts.
"Everyone saw what happened," Turner said. "I thought it was a dirty play. I wasn't about to let that go."
He sure didn't.
After both big men got up, Turner threw a shoulder into Gobert in retaliation. So Gobert turned and attempted to wrestle Turner to the ground.
"First of all, we knew we weren't gonna fight," Gobert said. "Guys need to stop acting like they are going to fight because they know in two seconds 20 security guards are gonna be in between us. It looks cool on cameras but they know they're not gonna fight. Guys that aren't about that life need to stop acting like they are."
Gobert pretty much nailed it: There wasn't really a fight. Gobert and Turner bear-hugged each other for a few moments as their teammates, the officials, and, yes, a bunch of security guards got between the two and broke things up.
Ingles barreled into the altercation and pushed NBA official Ed Malloy in the process, and Mitchell ran in and began yelling at anyone in a white jersey.
"I'm gonna stick up to my teammates," Mitchell said. "That's not going to change."
Mitchell and Ingles' actions were enough to have those two players thrown out along with Gobert and Turner. The officials, though, determined the contact Ingles made with Malloy wasn't intentional — something that could save him from a suspension.
Quentin Richardson and Jamal Crawford's reaction to the Myles Turner/Rudy Gobert hug fight pic.twitter.com/m69Gan7HzK— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 12, 2021
For Jazz coach Quin Snyder, in the end, it was a pretty standard NBA skirmish.
"Any time that your teammate gets tangled up like that and you see people on the floor, you're gonna react emotionally," Snyder said. "You have your teammates back. That's not atypical in that situation."
What was more atypical was Gobert's press conference after the game where the Jazz center more or less challenged the entire league to a fight.
Gobert, who does train in the boxing ring (funny enough, his boxing coach was actually in attendance on Thursday), said he had no intention of ever fighting Turner when he approached him. He said he wrapped his arms around him so nothing else would happen.
"If I don't feel threatened I'm not going to throw a punch and hurt my team," Gobert said. "I didn't feel no threat at all. I'm not going to fight on a basketball court."
But off of it? Well, that's a different story.
"If somebody wants to fight, I'm easy to reach," Gobert said. "I'm very easy to reach. … I'm on Twitter, WhatsApp, easy."
As for a possible suspension, Gobert doesn't believe his actions merit any further actions. He admits it was a clear technical foul and was worthy of an ejection, but it didn't reach a level of suspension.
But will the league agree? The Jazz play Miami Saturday at 3 p.m. MT in a game that is catered for international audiences, including Gobert's native France, and the decision could have some ramifications.
The altercation stole the headlines from a game the Jazz didn't play well. They couldn't defend all night and allowed Malcolm Brogdan, who had 30 points and nine rebounds, and TJ McConnell, who had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists, to do just about anything they wanted.
It was a poor performance following an emotional day where the team talked openly about the impact the tragic death of Isabella "Izzy" Faith Tichenor had on them. The Jazz even held a moment of silence before the game to honor Izzy.
Emotions were already high, so when shots weren't falling and the officials allowed for extra contract, frustration took over.
"It was continuing to build, you can sense that, and I mean you've (the officials) got to draw a line early," said Mitchell, who had 26 points before his ejection. "I mean, otherwise you're gonna get situations like that."
The league, like most players, probably isn't about that life.