A big part of the Minnesota Timberwolves' success throughout the regular season and NBA Playoffs was their Defensive Player of the Year. Rudy Gobert made it difficult for opponents to get to the rim which forced them to spread out their offense. This gave players like Jaden McDaniels, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns an easier time on both ends of the floor. While they may have already triumphed over the Denver Nuggets, some analysts like Charles Barkley still can't help but be critical of the Frenchman.

While there was a break during the Timberwolves' clash with the Nuggets, Charles Barkley went out to criticize Chris Finch's rotational calls against Nikola Jokic. What was the decision the head honcho made, you ask? Well, it was for Rudy Gobert to keep defending the Most Valuable Player.

“They got to take Rudy Gobert out of the game… Nikola Jokic is just throwing him around like a damn rag doll… They are really playing 5 on 4,” Charles Barkley declared.

In all fairness, the Nuggets were ahead by 20 points at one point in this NBA Playoff clash. But, The Round Mound Of Rebound did not expect The Stifle Tower to get better in the latter parts of the game. Eventually, Rudy Gobert started contesting better and was even able to defend well on drop coverage.

The Timberwolves center took notice of what Barkley said after the game. He had a few choice words after hearing the statement made in between their do-or-die game in the NBA Playoffs, via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“I don't watch these guys. So, I don't know what they are talking about. But, I do know that they have to talk about something. They have to talk about us down the court. I'm glad coach didn't listen to his advice,” Rudy Gobert said while laughing.

Timberwolves batter down the defending champions

May 19, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) and guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) defend Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first half in game seven of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A repeat looked inevitable for the Nuggets at the start of the season. Nikola Jokic was in prime form and there were times when Jamal Murray looked like an All-Star. All of that held true until Games 1 and 2 of their clash against the Timberwolves. Anthony Edwards was making light work of them while Karl-Anthony Towns focused on offense and Rudy Gobert played phenomenal defense.

All of this allowed the Nuggets to wake up from their slump. From then on, they would win the next consecutive matchups for a shot at a decisive seventh game. It was all Nuggets and Jokic at the start. Then, it wasn't.

Gobert anchored a third-quarter defense that only allowed the MVP's squad to score 14 points. It looked horrendous for the Nuggets as the Timberwolves had no plans of turning back. They would then develop a heavier foot on the gas pedal to effectively run away with the NBA Playoffs series victory. By the end, the scoreline was 98 to 90 in favor of the Timberwolves.

All of this would probably not have happened if Gobert did not produce on defense. Hopefully, this carries over against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.