Rudy Gobert aka “The Stifle Tower” has had an interesting season to date. He leads the league in blocked shots, (2.52 per game) is tied for fourth in rebounds (12.8 per game) and is third in field goal percentage (.643) yet narrowly missed being selected to be a first-time All Star. His Utah Jazz currently hold a handy 1.5 game buffer from the LA Clippers for the Western Conference’s #4 seed and alongside the always improving Gordon Hayward, these Jazz have carved themselves out a pretty impressive 2016/17 season to date.
All of the above attributes came together on Sunday for Gobert as he terrorized the recently re-shaped Sacramento Kings to the tune of 16 points, 24 rebounds, three assists, a steal and three blocks in 41 minutes of action.
In an already impressive season perhaps the most impressive plays yet from Gobert came in the clutch vs. the Kings. First in regulation, he swooped to the basket for a game tying layup, then got a deflection off Sacramento’s Darren Collison with 3.3 remaining on the very next inbound possession to give the Jazz one more shot at it in regulation. The game-winning attempt from George Hill missed however and the game went to overtime.
As the final seconds ticked away on this contest, George Hill had another chance to seal the deal, down one but his shot missed everything. Gobert’s tentacle-like arms reached up and caught Hill’s second missed game-winner attempt of the night and finessed it into the basket on the buzzer to steal the victory in California’s capital.
Multiple Kings personnel immediately pleaded for offensive interference and were initially granted the call before an official review overturned the decision, once again crowning Gobert the hero of the evening.
With the now-healthy Clippers hot on Utah’s trail, these hustle plays and especially that game-winning tip-in might just be Gobert’s biggest contribution of this already impressive season. And if the Jazz end up holding on to the #4 seed… well, they can definitely thank “The Stifle Tower” for this clutch performance.