There was an interesting, seemingly intense confrontation between coach Kurt Rambis and Al Jefferson during a third-quarter timeout on Tuesday, but Rambis played down the incident after the game.
With six and a half minutes to play in the quarter and the Wolves trailing by 16, Rambis and Jefferson shouted at each other just outside the team's huddle, with Jefferson finally stalking to the end of the bench. Unhappy that Rambis had just pulled him? Irritated that Wolves guards were hoisting up outside shots rather than feeding him inside? Frustrated by yet another landslide loss?
None of the above, Rambis said after the game. The coach said he had been critical of Jefferson running a play incorrectly, and Jefferson took exception, explaining that point guard Jonny Flynn had called a different play.
"It was miscommunication. I apologized to him," Rambis said. "I told him he was supposed to go to the strong side, and I didn't see (Flynn) called a series where he was supposed to be on the weak side. So I apologized to him for the confusion out there."
Still, tempers were briefly pretty hot. Assistant coach Reggie Theus went to the end of the bench to calm Jefferson down, and he was inserted back into the game 90 seconds later.
Jefferson left the locker room after the game without speaking to the media, though he may have been in a hurry because the Wolves caught a flight to New Jersey immediately after the game.
A few other leftovers from Minnesota's third blowout in four games:
-- If nothing else, the Wolves achieved a semblance of offensive balance. Four starters took either 12 or 13 shots, and three of them went to the free-throw line six times, so the load was carried pretty equally.
-- Rambis is trying to teach Oleksiy Pecherov that more is expected of him than taking quick, long shots. Last week, he pulled the Ukrainian center after barely a minute when he took back-to-back jumpers. But I don't get the feeling that Pecherov is getting the message. He entered Tuesday's game with 1:58 remaining; 14 seconds later, he launched a 20-footer. Don't expect him back in the rotation anytime soon.
-- The coach was plenty irritated with everyone, though, for the horrendous start to the game. After warning them about the Hawks' aggressive defense, after lecturing his players about protecting the ball -- six turnovers in seven possessions? Absurd. So Rambis made his feelings clear. "They weren't prepared to play," he said. "There's no leeway with our guys. They have to be prepared to play from the opening tip to the end. No possession, no time, no quarter, no nothing -- they don't have the luxury of taking any of that off. They've got to bring it the entire time they're out there on the floor."
-- PHIL MILLER