With a two game winning streak in tow, the Timberwolves returned to the Target Center to open up a three game home stand. Monday’s opponent was the 17-13 Mavericks, a team the Wolves are likely going to have to catch in order to make it into the playoffs. No surprises or changes in the Wolves’ starting lineup: Rubio, Martin, Brewer, Love, and Pekovic. The Mavericks opened up with Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, and Samuel Dalembert.
An infuriating ending to a game the Wolves really could have used. After an incredibly slow first half for the Pups, they came storming all the way back in the 3rd quarter. While they took the lead several times in the 4th, the Wolves were upended by Ed Malloy’s officiating crew – see .GIF link towards the end of the detailed recap below. A tough pill to swallow for a team that needs all the help they can get. Insult to injury / Salt in the wound, but Monday night was another poor performance from the Wolves’ bench. SOS, help!
The game started off with a real nice pace to it, as both teams were shooting relatively well. Kevin Martin must love seeing the Mavs, as he started off with a quick 9 points in the first six-plus minutes of the 1st quarter. Going into the first timeout/break of the game, the Mavs held a 19-16 advantage, shooting 9-13 from the field. The Mavs were led by Shawn Marion, who had 8 of the team’s first 19 points.
It is worth noting that Kevin Love showed off an interior post game in the 1st quarter. If he can keep this going and commit to an inside-out approach, you might as well pencil him in on the 1st team All-NBA squad. On Love’s first three pointer of the game, there was a bit of history from Ricky Rubio:
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 31, 2013
That three pointer tied the game at 23, but the Wolves finished the quarter with several sloppy plays, turning the ball over and missing several shots close to the basket. At the end of the 1st, the Mavs held a 29-23 lead.
It was a very ugly 2nd quarter for the Wolves. Eighteen minutes into the game and they had already committed 10 turnovers. Going into a timeout the Mavs held their largest lead of the game (at that time), 39-31. This was aided by poor play and decision making from JJ Barea, who struggled defensively and continued to turn the ball over during his stint on the floor.
The bad play continued throughout the rest of the 1st half, with the Wolves continuing to turn the ball over and getting virtually nothing from anyone not named Kevin or Nikola Pekovic. This is more than an outlier at this point and is a major concern for the franchise going into 2014. The Mavs poured it on and took a 19 point lead into the locker room at halftime. Mavs 62, Wolves 43. (Ugh!) Here are a few halftime thoughts:
- Way too many turnovers for the Wolves – 13 at the half.
- Apparently it was turn back the clock night at TC, with Shawn Marion playing out of his mind in the first half – a season high 21 points … at halftime?!
- Speaking of turning back the clock, who do we need to bribe to get this team to wear the original blue uniforms for one of these games?
After missing several shots to start the quarter, the Wolves and Mavs began to trade baskets. The good news was that the Wolves put the Mavs in the penalty with about 7 minutes left to go in the 3rd. With the lead down to 13 points, the Mavs were forced to call a timeout.
Rick Carlisle’s strategy coming out of the timeout didn’t work, as the Pups continued to cut into the lead. Dallas was forced to call another timeout with their lead down to 6 points, at 72-66. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavs put in a few baskets to move the lead back to 11 points. However, the Wolves answered again, with Corey Brewer leading the charge with multiple three point baskets. It all came to fruition at the end of the quarter with a Love to Brewer TD pass to tie the game at 81! Just an amazing flick of the wrist from Love on that one!
Love continued to shine to start the 4th quarter, putting up 30+ points and double-digit rebounds with more than 9 minutes left in the final frame. The Wolves took an 86-85 lead into a timeout and it was up to the Wolves’ reserves to try and hold down the fort for a few minutes. Spoiler alert: They did! With six minutes left in the game, the Wolves still held a one point lead, with Love checking back into the game.
Dallas answered again with an 8-0 run to retake the lead 95-90 with less than four minutes to play. This was largely due to the outside shooting of … surprise, surprise … Shawn Marion. I have no idea how this happened either. What I do know is that the Wolves desperately need an upgrade at PG. Rubio sat on the bench up to this point in the 4th quarter and JJ’s efforts on the court aren’t worth dissecting whatsoever. They need to flip JJ before the deadline. He doesn’t work with Adelman’s system and “hero ball” is painstakingly annoying.
Back to the game … the final few minutes of game time took an eternity thanks to several reviews from Ed Malloy and his crew. With 47.5 seconds left in the game, the Mavs held a 100-96 lead. Rubio fed Pek again to cut the lead down to 2 points, followed by a missed jump shot by Monta. The Wolves went to the same well but Pek missed it the second time down the floor. After grabbing the rebound, Sam Dalembert travelled with the ball and gave the Wolves one last chance with 6.5 seconds left. Dallas had a foul to give and Calderon took the opportunity to use it. With only 3 seconds to play, the ball is passed to Kevin Love and this happens … only one problem, no foul is called and the game is over. The final score – Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 98. A few comments on this no-call from Ed Malloy and crew:
Warning, NBA tweet: Shawn Marion just got away with slapping the hell out of Kevin Love’s arm going up for tying shot. No call. Atrocious.
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 31, 2013
ED MALLOY!!! He was RIGHT THERE NEXT TO THE PLAY and didn’t call a foul on Marion contesting Love’s shot. Every replay shows it was a foul.
— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) December 31, 2013
That no call just trumped Jason Phillips awful no call last year on Rubio. Just awful. Criminal.
— Jim Petersen (@JimPeteHoops) December 31, 2013
Someone cut Jim Pete’s mic before FSN is fined by the FCC!
— john flesta (@jflesta) December 31, 2013
Three Stars of the Game
- Shawn Marion – 32 points, 6 rebounds, and the “defensive play” to end the game
- Kevin Love – 36 and 11 for the best PF in the league, even though he still isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt at the end of games from the officials
- Brandan Wright – If the Wolves would have won, this would go to Corey Brewer, but Wright was awesome off the bench for the Mavs – 6-8 shooting for 14 points.
- The Wolves can’t afford to wait any longer, they need to start working the phones and find at least one player to help prop up the regular rotation. If Adelman isn’t going to use Shabazz, he needs to be included in said deal. Sending JJ away would be of benefit to my blood pressure as well.
- Ed Malloy and crew should be fined for tonight’s game and should not be allowed to work in the playoffs. This won’t happen.