Since Monday, the NBA now releases a transcription reviewing every official’s call or non-call made in the final two minutes of games. From that first night, the league determined referees erred by not calling a foul when Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins was double-teamed and stripped of the ball with 80 seconds left in Monday’s 110-105 loss to the Clippers.
The Wolves were done wrong at a time they trailed by four. Coach Flip Saunders shrugged his shoulders when asked about a new policy that ruled on a play Saunders knew was the incorrect call when he left Target Center that night.
“I give the league credit, they are trying to get it right,” Saunders said.
But it sounded like there was a big but coming there from Saunders in a new process that ruled Spencer Hawes had fouled Wiggins when he tried to get off a shot. No foul was called when the ball was knocked around and ended up in the Clippers’ possession.
The NBA’s review also included three other incorrect non-calls that didn’t impact the game as much as the no-call on Hawes did.
“The instant replays are a fine line,” Saunders said. “No question, instant replays try to get it right, which is good, but they definitely hurt the flow of the game in a lot of ways. … They are trying to be transparent with fans so they know what’s going on. Usually in those situations, we’ll talk to the league that night or the next morning and know what happened on those calls.”
Wiggins makes it four
Wiggins was named the Western Conference’s rookie of the month for February on Tuesday after he led all qualified rookies in scoring (16.8 ppg), free-throw attempts (5.4) and minutes played (38.7) during the month.
He has won the award every month this season and is the first rookie to do that in four consecutive months since Portland’s Damian Lillard in 2012-13.
Back together again
Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin returned after each missed Monday’s loss.
Pekovic said his troublesome ankle felt better, adding he also has begun a new treatment intended to quiet down an ankle when pain flares.
“Some laser thing, whatever, some new machine,” he said.
Does it work? “Does it affect you after two days?” he said. “We’ll see.”
Martin was ill back in November, when a doctor advised him not to play. Martin received intravenous fluids and played anyway, scoring 37 points vs. New York, but broke his wrist.
“I told him I’m not going to fight him because last time I fought him four hours before the game, I missed 2½ months,” Martin said.
Having an impact
Wednesday’s game marked a week that Kevin Garnett has played games with his new team. In that time, the Wolves have filled Target Center seats and improved their defensive intensity and precision.
“I’m bringing the expertise of someone who has been in the league, who knows what the league is about,” Garnett said. “I play with no nonsense, I play all out. Edge? If you want to call it an edge, so be it. But I’ve always been a teammate who feels confidence within. I’m just trying to bring that here.”
Little by little
Injured forward Robbie Hummel returned from a Wednesday checkup at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, wearing a small black protector on his healing shooting hand. He said the fracture has healed fine but that he still has issues with flexibility and range of motion.