Nickeil Alexander-Walker Explains His Technical

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves experienced a Game 3 that went almost the polar opposite of Game 2. Despite having Rudy Gobert back, Minnesota got down and never came back. Frustrations boiled over and Nickeil Alexander-Walker wound up with an unexpected technical foul.

For the first two games of the series it was Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaden McDaniels frustrating the Denver Nuggets. MVP Nikola Jokic was running ragged and guard Jamal Murray was flustered to the point of tossing a heating pad onto the court. As the deficit mounted on Friday night, the talented Timberwolves guard exploded in an uncharacteristic way.

Alexander-Walker Gets Crushed

Switching onto Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Nickeil Alexander-Walker looked to fight around a screen set by Nikola Jokic and instead got into a collision that left him down on the court. Not able to compete through the rest of the play, Alexander-Walker was left frustrated while looking to be his lockdown defensive self.

Following the play, Alexander-Walker immediately talked with the official in an attempt to gain clarity on the situation. Discussing it in the heat of the moment let emotions boil over and he was handed a technical foul. Postgame he explained his thoughts,

“I was more just upset because I’m fighting my ass off. I’m not one that’s going to flop and fake. For me, I was just trying to fight through screens. I felt like because I’m into my guy, last minute he’s trying to slide over to get a clean hit. I feel like my initial routes are to avoid the screen, every time I keep getting clipped trying to get around. I had hurt my shoulder a few possessions before that.

I tried to fight it off. Then again it happened. I’m not trying to get injured. So now at a certain point, I know Jokic is by no mean a dangerous player, I’m just trying to talk to the refs, like can you please look out for it. I just got heated in the moment, getting hurt, trying to play hard. Should’ve had a better conversation.”

Nickeil Alexander-Walker explains his technical foul in game 3 vs Nuggets (quote via Dane Moore)

Related: Kevin Garnett Prophesized Timberwolves Gm 3 Loss, Soft Refs Included

Defense Can’t Slump for Alexander-Walker

For the first two games of the series Minnesota was able to impose their will on the Denver Nuggets. With Karl Anthony Towns locking down Jokic, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker teaming up with Jaden McDaniels on the perimeter, there wasn’t much room for the opposition to operate.

That couldn’t have been less true in Game 3, and is something they’ll need to adjust for in Game 4.

Dropping just one game, and unlikely to sweep the defending champions, Minnesota was always going to need to be in a position to rebound.

Now with a chance to again operate at their normal defensive level, Sunday’s action has to be highlighted again by a collected Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Here’s to hoping he’s back to full health and ready to go.

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