Last night's game between the Utah Jazz and the Indiana Pacers in Salt Lake City was not supposed to be the biggest drama considering the difference in the record between these two teams. But the Pacers have a history of playing well in Utah, as they built a light rivalry with the Jazz, leading to an exciting game that saw Indiana upset Utah.
To add to the spice of the game, the two centers Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner, got into a heated altercation that ended up with multiple ejections. After the game, the French center shared he has no fear of throwing hands with anybody.
Brogdon leads the Pacers to a great victory
The Utah Jazz are one of the best teams in the league this season, especially at home. On the other hand, the Pacers have struggled to find their stride, falling to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. But last night, the roles reversed. The Pacers started the game great and took command of the game in the first half with a 9-point lead at the half.
The Jazz were right there trying to turn the game around in the second half, but the Pacers stood their ground. Tensions were high, as both teams presented a psychical style of basketball without too much offense on the repertoire. And then, late in the 4th quarter, with the Jazz down 10, Gobert and Turner would get tangled up after the Pacers center blocked Rudy.
Gobert would pull Turner down, and hell broke loose, with the two big men grabbing each other before assistants managed to split them up. Donovan Mitchell was visibly frustrated and active in the skirmish as he got ejected alongside the two protagonists of the fight. That would be the end of the Jazz hopes to turn the game around. The Pacers would finish the job and win the game 100-111, with Malcolm Brogdon leading the way, notching 30 points,9 rebounds, and 4 assists. On the other side, Mitchell led the way with 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Gobert is ready to fight
After such an intense game, emotions were obviously running high, as the players took to the media to share their point of view. Gobert was unfazed, claiming he is ready to fight anyone if necessary:
"It's actually funny, because my boxing coach was at the game. The only game he's come to this year...They allow guys to do too much shit. If I don't feel threatened, I'm not gonna throw a punch. And I didn't feel threatened. I'm not gonna fight on the basketball court. If someone wants to fight, I'm easy to reach."
Rudy Gobert, Postgame Press Conference
His teammate Donovan Mitchell attributed all this to the officiating and toleration of rough play:
"It's really at a point now where the referees are allowing this to get out of hand. We're playing through contact. We're competitors. You talk shit. But at some point, it's continuing to build, and you can sense that. You have to draw the line early."
Donovan Mitchell, Postgame Press Conference
From the other side, the Pacers center Myles Turner explained why he had to stand up for himself and what provoked him:
"I thought it was a dirty play. … When (Gobert) pulled my shorts, I wasn't about to have that so I had to stand up for myself in that situation."
Myles Turner, Scott Agness Twitter
In the end, all that matters is that the Pacers grabbed a huge victory in Utah and improved to a more respectable record of 5-8. I'm pretty sure there will be no suspensions because there wasn't anything severe happening during the altercation. Most of these guys don't really want to fight and get fined, as it is mostly all for the cameras.
But at least Gobert is holding up his side and expressing no fear in settling his differences with Turner outside the court. There will probably be no response from Myles, as we are talking about basketball players after all. By the next time these two teams face in January, this altercation will probably be forgotten already.