I think it goes without saying that the Minnesota Timberwolves weren't going to win this one regardless, but the refs really made things difficult for the Wolves in the fourth quarter. A fair warning: tonight is one of the few times I'm going to complain about the referees, but understand, I'm fully aware that we likely would've lost anyway.
With roughly 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Ray Allen had the ball at the top of the key and was guarded by J.J. Barea. J.J. went for a steal and knocked the ball away from Allen who got it back and then pushed off on J.J. with his body & forearm. Allen then drove the lane and Barea retaliated by bumping him with his body. Allen flopped to the floor and promptly got up to confronted J.J. as he pretended as though he wanted to fight him. Barea just stood there and exchanged a few choice words. He was eventually hit with a flagrant 2 foul and thus ejected from the game. Before leaving the game he called Ray a few names: "You're a p***y, a f*****g p***y, a p***y, a f*****g p***y!" You can easily find a video or GIF of it and easily read his lips. I watched it about thirty times and laughed harder each time after.
A few seconds later, Adelman continued to argue the call and was hit with a technical foul. That stretch of plays really changed the game and permanently tipped the scales in favor of the Wolves. Before the technicals & ejections and name calling the Wolves were down just six points. Following J.J.'s ejection, the Heat went on a 21-11 run to finish the game for the W. After Adelman's technical, Cunningham & Shved were both hit with offensive fouls on different plays that were also somewhat questionable.
As I said during the game, there's no chance that the NBA is going to let the defending champion Miami Heat--who are riding a now franchise record 15-game winning streak lose to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. The Heat could've got the job done themselves, but the refs made sure the outcome would not be in doubt in the final minutes of this one.
All in all, it was a very entertaining game as the Wolves (for three-and-a-third quarters) went toe-to-toe with the completely healthy Miami Heat. That, despite being without Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy & Malcolm Lee--having just nine healthy players and by the end of the night just eight players who were allowed to be on the court.
Rick Adelman voiced plenty of his frustration after the game and during the game. I knew the technical was coming just by the facial expressions and shouting he was doing at the refs. I can honestly say, I don't think I've ever seen Rick Adelman that angry or expressive! I read on Twitter (and can't confirm if it's true or not) that Adelman called one of the refs a f*****g a*****e as he left the court.
This certainly won't be a game I'll be forgetting anytime soon!
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers...
Derrick Williams had yet another great night as he continues his stellar play and is finally becoming a consistent NBA player. To have that kind of stat line when you're going up against LeBron, Wade & Bosh is even more impressive.
Rubio also continues his great play. Yet again he's stuffing the stat sheet. He had a number of very nice looking drives to the lane, tonight was also the first time this season he's made more than one three-point field goal!
Alexey Shved has strung together A LOT of terrible performances in a row, tonight he finally broke out of that funk, hopefully it's a sign of things to come and this is the first in a number of exciting and productive games, with so many bodies continuing to pile up on the IR, production from Shved is a must!
What can you say about the Big Three? They're taking over the League and despite getting a bit of help from the officials, I doubt you'll find anyone who actually believes the Wolves were going to win this game. Was definitely still exciting, however.
MISC. PLAYER STATS: Cunningham's 6 offensive rebounds is a new season-high. Ricky Rubio tied a season high with his 6 made field goals, his 6 steals also ties a season-high--as well as a career-high, Rubio's 2 threes made is a new season-high, that also ties a career-high (for the 11th time in his NBA career) and his 4 three-point field goal attempts. Mickael Gelabale's 3 steals ties a season high and ties a career-high. Derrick Williams also turned in a career night. D-Will finished with a season-high 25 points on a season-high 10 field goals made (which also ties a career-high) his 22 field goals attempted is a new season & career-high. He also played a career-high 45 minutes.
KEY STATS: When your bests scorers/shooters are Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour & J.J. Barea--it's more than likely your going to shoot a low percentage. When your best scorers/shooters are LeBron, Wade, Bosh & Ray Allen--it's more than likely you're going to shoot a high percentage. Such was the case tonight. With Minnesota's three big rebounders out (Love, Pek & AK) the Wolves didn't have the big rebounding edge they did the last time these two teams met and despite 11 from Dante & another 10 from Derrick to lead the Wolves, the Heat finished with a +9 on the boards.
MISC. TEAM STATS: The Wolves tied their second-best mark of the season with their 14 steals. The Heat finished with 39 defensive rebounds & 58 points in the paint--both of which tie the second-best numbers of the season for a Wolves opponent, while their 24 team turnovers is the second-highest number of the season for a Minnesota opponent. The Heat also tied the second-lowest number of the season for a Wolves opponent with their 15 personal fouls.
The Wolves will be back in action when they take on the Washington Wizards at the Target Center on Wednesday night. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!