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Did Rudy Gobert break an unwritten rule of basketball in win over Jazz?


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” Rudy Gobert received a pass under the basket as the final seconds ticked away in his first game back in Utah.

All he needed to do was let the clock run dry and he could enjoy a happy homecoming to Salt Lake City. He didn't need to shoot, but he did anyway.

With 2.4 seconds left in the game, Gobert laid it up and put the finishing touches on a 118-108 victory over his former team. Apparently, that was a big no-no.

Oh, the joys of unwritten rules.

Jazz guard Malik Beasley took exception to Gobert's meaningless basket and confronted him midcourt after the final buzzer. The two players stood chest-to-chest (or at least as close as one can get to chest-to-chest when going toe-to-toe with Gobert), and exchanged pleasantries.

"It was just disrespectful," Beasley said. "It's the unwritten rule of basketball and I told him that."

Beasley wasn't the only member of the Jazz that didn't like the basket. Utah coach Will Hardy looked pretty annoyed when it happened, and when asked about the final play gave a sarcastic response.

"It was a nice layup. He now has 22 points," he said. "Played a great game. That's the extent of my thoughts."

As for Mike Conley, who shared the court with Gobert for three seasons, he said he wished the game was closer β€” or the Jazz were ahead β€” so it wouldn't have mattered.

"There's unwritten rules in everything," Conley said. "Obviously, we didn't like what happened at the end of the game, but it happens; it happened. We'd rather win the game and not have to worry about it. It is what it is, but, obviously, we don't like it."

It should be noted that Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt did a very similar thing at the end of the two team's first matchup this season. Vanderbilt slammed home an uncontested dunk in the waning seconds of a Utah victory when it was clear Minnesota wasn't going to foul to extend the game. He even added a primal scream in for good measure.

Funny enough, Gobert wasn't the first one to break the apparent sacred unwritten rule on Friday, either. In New Orleans, Zion Williamson laid down a dunk-contest-worthy slam in the waning seconds of the Pelicans' win over Phoenix. The Suns, as expected, also went after Williamson following his highlight play.

"If they did the same thing, I wouldn't have a problem with it," Williamson said.

But let's get back to what happened in Utah. So why did Gobert decide to put the finishing touches on the game like he did?

"I've been taught to play basketball until the last second," he said after the game "For me, there was never an attempt to disrespect anybody."

Minnesota coach Chris Finch notes the Jazz played press coverage on the final play, too. As half-hearted as that press may have been, it invited the Wolves to try at least a little. So, they did.

Gobert was also annoyed that the little dust up at center court kept him from speaking with his old teammates after the game.

"For this guy to step in front of me, he wasn't going to do anything anyway, so I didn't get to shake hands with my guys," he said. "So it kind of killed my moment. It is what it is, some guys just want attention."

On Friday, oddly enough, late-game meaningless buckets commanded the most attention.

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