Timberwolves Can’t Overcome Bad KAT, Whining Luka Doncic or Horrible Officiating in Game 3

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the Western Conference Finals in the midst of arguably the most impressive season in franchise history… only to get taken to the woodshed by the Dallas Mavericks.

During Game 3 Sunday night, a contest the Timberwolves absolutely had to have down 2-0 in the series, they simply couldn’t get a stop late. Jason Kidd’s team to shot 56% from the floor and 50% from deep on the night.

Minnesota Timberwolves can’t beat Luka Doncic + officials

While the insufferable Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving continued their impressive run, NBA official Tony Brothers and his crew made the game about them from the beginning.

It started early, and it wasn’t just the Minnesota Timberwolves taking notice. After a questionable foul on Kyle Anderson, otherwise critical TNT analyst Reggie Miller noted just how bad of a decision Tony Brothers made to give the Minnesota forward a technical. Passionately questioning the foul, Dallas was sent to the line early.

As has been the case for the majority of his career, things continued to be uneven as Rudy Gobert got tangled with Daniel Gafford going down the court, but constant Luka Doncic contact was left unreprimanded.

For the duration of this series there has been a few constants, Luka Doncic trash talking, Luka Doncic complaining and Luka Doncic hitting massive shots in the biggest moments. He did plenty of all three on Sunday night.

Referees became a talking point through the contest, and especially in the second half. This isn’t the first time the Timberwolves have experience a lopsided game in the refereeing department during these playoffs, but this felt like Scott Foster would be welcomed onto the court as a substitute.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker was handed a third quarter offensive foul more than three-quarters of the way from the bucket after Derrick Jones Jr. decided to win an Academy Awards. The zebras once again fell for it and hopped on the whistle with quickness.

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The icing on the cake may have been Doncic himself, throwing a literal tantrum on national television that went unreprimanded. Worth a trip to the locker room for his binkie and a timeout, instead the officials swallowed their whistle and asked the Mavericks star that finished with 33 points what he would like next.

Officials rarely are the sole reason for a result in any professional game. They weren’t tonight, and they won’t be the rest of the way either. They certainly impacted the game negatively for Minnesota though, and it’s been a problem for the league over the years.

Adam Silver knows this league has an officiating issue, and if the NBA ever wants to distance itself completely from Tim Donaghy’s transgressions, then a greater level of consistency and transparency needs to be shown. But tonight, it wouldn’t have mattered.

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