Lots of highs and lows for Jonny Flynn during the Wolves' 116-109 victory over Indiana on Friday. But his big smile was back after the game.
"It feels great," Flynn said. "It feels great to play well, and most of all get a win against a team that really kind of embarrassed us in Indiana last week."
Flynn wasn't smiling about four minutes into the fourth quarter, though. He complained about a moving screen as he ran up the floor behind referee Bennett Salvatore, and earned his first technical foul before he realized what had happened. Coach Kurt Rambis quickly benched Flynn in favor of Ramon Sessions, and the rookie figured his night was over.
He even gave away his headband.
"I gave it to a kid. He walked by during a timeout. He was leaving, and he asked for my headband," Flynn said. "So I gave it to him. Then I got back into the game."
He did, because Sessions committed turnover on consecutive possessions in the game's final 90 seconds. Flynn subbed back in, and ended up making a critical defensive play, stripping Brandon Rush of an inbounds pass with nine seconds to play.
"He was already on the three-point line, and the pass was kind of behind him," Flynn said. "I knew he had to square the ball back up to the basket, and he put the ball right in front of me."
That was the frosting on a pretty good bounce-back night for the rookie, who suffered through a 1-for-11 disaster in Wednesday's loss to Golden State. Flynn ended up with 18 points -- Indiana counterpart Earl Watson had two -- plus two assists and two steals. Best of all: Zero turnovers.
"He did a nice job," said Kevin Love. "He might have a bad game here and there, but he's going to have more good ones."
A few more notes on the Wolves' last home game for 10 days:
-- Rambis appreciated Flynn's big steal at the end, but he used it as a teaching moment, too. "It's great for him to see that, to read that, to know he can do that," Rambis said, before adding a disclaimer. "I know he wants to put his stamp on the game at the end, but there were five seconds left, and he was way ahead (upcourt). He could have dribbled the clock out." Instead, Flynn took the ball to the basket and drew a foul, giving Indiana one last possession.
-- You may not have recognized the bald guy wearing No. 14. His name is Brian Cardinal, and his three and a half minute stint marked his first action in Target Center since Dec. 2. He made a pair of free throws, the first time he's scored since Nov. 27. Speaking of rarely used, Alando Tucker was inactive again, despite the continued absence of Ryan Hollins. Rambis said he wanted extra height on the bench because Indiana is one of the league's bigger teams. Tucker has now spent five games with the Timberwolves without seeing any action.
-- Flynn almost wasn't the only one to earn a technical foul. Rambis came awfully close in the fourth quarter, when he complained about a clear-path foul called on Sessions. The Wolves felt that Sessions knocked the ball away from A.J. Price cleanly, but referee Pat Fraher disagreed. The clear-path ruling -- giving the Pacers two free throws and possession of the ball -- made it worse, since the foul came about 12 feet from the basket, and it appeared that Al Jefferson was going to reach the basket first. Price didn't have a clear path, in other words. Rambis complained loudly to Fraher, shouting, "Two bad calls on one play!" and the official looked as though he was about to blow his whistle. But he didn't, saving the Wolves' coach the standard $1,000 fine for a technical.
-- Troy Murphy was 5-for-5 from the three-point line in the first half, but 0-for-2 in the second half. He had 19 points at halftime, but just 21 for the game. Kevin Love couldn't help but be a little nonplussed by Murphy's shooting. Yep, it was his man. "It's tough to get to a 6-10 lefty guy who's stroking the ball well," Love said of the first half. Did he guard Murphy in the second half, too? "Well, I'd like to say I didn't guard him in the first half," Love joked. "I think our rotations got a little stronger in the second half."
-- PHIL MILLER