‘God on our side’: Rudy Gobert’s unexpected buzzer beater keyed Minnesota’s Game 7 triumph in Denver

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The play provided shades of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and maybe even a little bit of Kevin Garnett for the local flavor.

In a key spot in a two-point game in the fourth quarter, with the shot clock winding down to zero, Minnesota’s all-star, max player spun around, rose up and fired over the outstretched arm of the three-time MVP from just inside the 3-point line, sent the ball flying up toward the heavens and then down through the net — with the rim remaining unscathed — securing a bucket that helped the Timberwolves take another massive step toward reaching the promised land.

Teammates could do nothing but stand in awe. Josh Minott threw his hands on his head as he watched from the bench. What else was there even to say at this point.

Just another “wow” moment to add to Rudy Gobert’s offensive montage.

Oh, did you think that was all in reference to someone else?

In all seriousness, no, Gobert was probably not Denver’s top defensive priority when Minnesota inbounded with five seconds left on the shot clock.

“That was a heck of an (after timeout play) we drew up for him,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch joked.

In reality, it was a breakdown. Only Finch and Co. know exactly where the ball was supposed to go. But it ended up in Gobert’s hands, a long way away from the hoop. He had no choice but to put up a shot, and he drilled it to put the Wolves up four with fewer than eight minutes to go.

Forget Minnesota’s onslaught in the third quarter. When that shot swished, Anthony Edwards knew Minnesota had Denver beat.

“Yeah, I think when Rudy hit the turnaround I was like, ‘Yeah, we probably got ‘em,’ ” Edwards joked. “I know that’ll kill you. I know that’ll kill you. That’ll kill everything. Big shoutout to Big Ru, hit the turnaround on their (butts).”

Gobert said the shot “felt good” when he let it go. He might’ve been the only one in the building who thought it was going to drop. Gobert is the best defensive player in basketball. But his offense — while improved — can still be a bit sporadic. He missed a layup earlier in the contest.

DENVER, COLORADO – MAY 19: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the National Anthem before Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on May 19, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

But he also hit the shot of the night.

“I mean, listen you need that,” Finch said. “He made one of those in Game 1, too. … When you’re playing the right way, you create that amount of luck.”

Perhaps it was a lucky break. Or maybe it was divine intervention. Players suggested the latter.

“God was with us,” Karl-Anthony Towns said.

“God on our side,” Jaden McDaniels said.

Wolves guard Mike Conley called it “the luckiest thing I’ve ever seen.” It was all part of a team-best eight-point final frame for the center to lift Minnesota into the Western Conference Finals.

“I was excited, honestly,” Conley said. “It was an amazing shot, big-time moment of the game.”

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