Time for Timberwolves to Grow Up; Stop Crying About Refs

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves blew a 23-point 2nd half lead to the woebegone Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, who just lost Zach LaVine to injury for the rest of the season, and flew out of the Windy City after a 129-123 loss, their 16th of the season, and certainly one of the most embarrassing.

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After dominating the first half and building a 69-47 lead into halftime, the Wolves came out of the break looking like a completely different team. They were outscored 36-23 in the 3rd quarter, 32-23 in the 4th and 14-8 in overtime. Dumb decisions, turnovers and immature basketball is what led to such an embarrassing loss.

Kyle Anderson’s late game technical foul

But when the game was over, too many of the Timberwolves players, and even All-Star game head coach, Chris Finch, wanted to talk more about a late Kyle Anderson technical foul call than how in the hell they blew such a huge lead vs a bottom feeder opponent in the first place.

Here’s the technical foul call in question. It happens with just over one-minute left in the 4th quarter, with the Wolves leading 115-112. You’ll see Anderson yelling at the ref in the top-left corner of the screen, prior to the tech being called. Below the video, you can read the complaints of both Kyle Anderson and Chris Finch.

“I couldn’t believe it. We’re focusing on the wrong thing. The only ones that used profanity I’m out there all the time; I heard profanity all game being yelled at the refs. I didn’t use profanity. I said, ‘that’s an and-1’. [So] give me a tech? I thought that was a little weird. I don’t know.”

“I think he pulled the trigger a little too early, honestly. All we were saying on the bench was, ‘it’s a foul, and an and-1’. Nobody used profanity, nothing malicious. Just caught up in the moment of the game. That was a quick trigger. I don’t think a veteran ref is calling a tech on that. Nothing to do with the game. But he did.”

Kyle Anderson

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“It seemed to me like an incredibly quick and unnecessary, at that point in time, call. Just reacting to a play in the moment that I didn’t think was over-demonstrative. I don’t think there was an excessive discussion or language used or anything like that.”

Chris Finch

The Wolves claim they were surprised by the technical foul call and that they didn’t hear a warning, like the crew chief claims they were. But why Kyle Anderson wants to talk so much about whether or not he used profanity makes no sense. Who cares, the refs mentioned nothing about profanity in their postgame explanation.

They said Kyle Anderson was complaining too much. They warned him, he kept going, so they gave him a tech: “After being instructed to stop complaining, Anderson continued to complain so he was issued an unsportsmanlike technical for continuous complaining.”

Was the timing bad? Yes. Does it matter? No.

Minnesota Timberwolves need to move on from ref drama

Kyle Anderson : Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I have a crazy idea. but I think it just might work. How about we stop complaining and focus on playing better basketball? If the Minnesota Timberwolves would stop worrying so much about whether or not the refs are conspiring against them, the answer to that question wouldn’t matter.

You are a 35-win basketball team BEFORE THE ALL-STAR BREAK. Even if the refs are working against you, more than for you, you’ve proven that it doesn’t matter as long as you play well. I get the general idea of all the complaining and ‘working the refs’. It’s how superstars get more calls, or so they believe.

But in the Timberwolves’ case, it isn’t working. In fact, it’s making things worse. Anthony Edwards took his complaints public and it cost $40K. Kyle Anderson is getting T’d up from the bench in huge end-of-game moments. So, it’s time to pull back. Control what you can control, which is playing better basketball.

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Focus on the fact that you blew a 23 point lead, not on how the refs supposedly screwed you AFTER you had allowed Chicago back into the game in the first place. Why was last night’s contest even in a place where that technical foul call meant anything or that Kyle Anderson cared to complain that much.

With just over one minute left at the United Center on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves should have been leading by 30 points. The G-Leaguers and bench warmers should have been in the game. Nobody should have cared enough to get T’d up about anything that late. How about we focus more on that shit? Listen to Rudy Gobert, maybe…

“We got to find a way to forget about the score and just be dogs for 48 minutes. Also, once again, too much talking to the officials. They’re not going to get better. I think we got to focus on ourselves.”

Rudy Gobert