MIAMI – D'Angelo Russell was ejected and the Timberwolves picked up four technicals in a, pardon the pun, heated third quarter of their 121-112 loss to the Heat.
The Wolves were behind the entire second half and while they hung around, they never threatened to retake the lead.
Did they let their anger toward the officials get the best of them? Anthony Edwards didn't think so.
"I don't think we were the ones that were emotional during the third quarter," he said.
A few minutes later, Edwards was asked who was getting emotional, if not the Wolves. Edwards let out an extended "Um" before answering.
"The zebras. That's about it," Edwards said. "Yeah, you know. But like I said, we'll take the blame. We put ourselves in that hole. It's cool, though."
Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns were conducting their postgame interviews together and as Edwards spoke, Towns erupted in laughter, a moment of levity on a night when frustration was palpable on the court.
Before the game, coach Chris Finch was in a joking mood when asked how the absence of Jaden McDaniels to a family funeral would affect the starting lineup.
"We thought we were going to start four tonight," Finch joked.
The Wolves likely felt outmanned by three considering the technicals they drew. Finch started the parade with the Wolves trailing 65-54 a physical Miami team early in the third. Russell and Ricky Rubio soon followed and then Russell picked up his second shortly after that with the Wolves trailing 83-73 and 4 minutes, 35 seconds to play. It was a beneficial quarter for NBA charities considering the fine money the Wolves accumulated in that span.
Then just before the game ended, old friends Jimmy Butler and Towns each earned technicals for exchanging pleasantries, with Butler being caught on microphones saying he "already punked you once."
"Very frustrating out there for everybody, certainly in white uniforms," Finch said. "We just kind of thought we tried to play through it the best we could. Obviously we lost our cool a little bit but understandably so."
Butler finished with 25 for the Heat while Towns had 27. Russell had 17 before he was ejected and Edwards had 25, as he faced a heavy dose of double-teams as he threatened to overtake the game in the second half.
Even with their frustration and technicals added in, the Wolves still shot more free throws than Miami (30 to 27). They made only 67% of them.
Finch said he thought the players had "every right to be upset" with how the game was called but acknowledged maybe the Wolves had to make some inroads with officials.
"Listen, until we start winning at a consistent level, maybe we won't get some of the whistles we think we deserve," Finch said. "It's not about that right now. We got to just find a way to plow through."
Towns went after Russell in the tunnel after Russell was ejected to make sure his emotions didn't boil over.
"I just wanted to check on him and let him know me and Ant gonna hold him down and get the job done as best as possible," Towns said. "Also to be honest, it was a cool down. I was already hot over some moments in the game."
Towns avoided a technical until late, when he and Butler exchanged words. After the game when Towns was asked about the moment, Edwards stepped in to take the question.
"Man, they grown men, dog," Edwards said. "They was just talking, having a regular conversation if you ask me. If y'all come to see us compete, there's no competition if we're not talking … to each other."
There was a lot of talking from the Wolves on Friday, and a lot of checks now to write.