Gobert, Wolves teammates show signs of jelling against Clippers

Maybe all fans needed was some patience.

When the Timberwolves traded for center Rudy Gobert during the offseason, many assumed the big man would put on his new uniform and immediately become the leader of the team's new aerial circus.

That didn't happen, not right away.

But one take from Friday's 128-115 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center is this: Gobert and his teammates may have arrived on the same page.

Gobert had his best game with the Wolves, scoring 25 points with 21 rebounds. It was the ninth 20-20 game of his career. Of his 11 made field goals, six were dunks that came off lobs, two each from Kyle Anderson, Jaden McDaniels and D'Angelo Russell.

"I try to just be in the right spot," Gobert said. "Make it easy for them. And those guys have been getting better. A lot of guys [had] turnovers trying to throw me the ball earlier this season. And, every night, that's going to happen here and there. But I really try to reward them by finishing those plays and being in the right spot."

Perhaps it just took some time.

"You just have to trust him," said Anderson, who has studied film of Gobert playing with Joe Ingles with Utah for keys on how to get Gobert the ball. "I mean, it's hard. It is a lot of pressure on someone to come into a new team and be good in October and November. Like, that's rare. So I think he's getting his rhythm in the pocket. We're starting to trust him more and he's making the right play."

This was a theme after Friday's game. Gobert talked about the time it takes for new teammates to start playing instinctively together on the court.

And, that is still a work in progress. There was one play Friday when it appeared perhaps Gobert was expecting a high pass from Russell, who instead delivered a bounce pass.

It didn't work.

Wolves coach Chris Finch said if the bounce pass is the right play, Gobert has to be ready for it and catch it. "He's got to be ready for anything," Finch said. "And we're looking for him now, in the pocket. And when has momentum rolling through there he's drawing fouls and obviously getting to the rim."

Said Gobert: "Sometimes I don't know where they're going to throw it. It's part of the chemistry. And sometimes it's hard for them to throw it up if they've got a seven-footer right there. So I've got to be ready for that bounce. I know DLo loves to throw that bounce pass. [Anthony Edwards], he can do both. It comes from time and trust. Basketball is never perfect, but we're able to punish all kinds of defenses by making the right play."

The fact that three teammates were consistently able to find Gobert with well-timed lobs in Friday's victory is a good sign.

"I think some of it is just reps," Finch said.

The more his teammates find Gobert, the more space they'll find for themselves.

"A lot of it is just me playing with more force than I've done earlier in the season," Gobert said. "A lot of it is the way we play by moving the ball. Those last three games, I think [it has been] the best stretch we've had just moving it and sharing it. That's a team we want to be. And when we play that way everyone shines."