An NBA referee of 22 years has sued the Associated Press and its Minneapolis sportswriter, alleging that the reporter errantly suggested in a tweet that the official said he would make up for a bad call that went against the Timberwolves.

Referee William Spooner's lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Minneapolis, seeks at least $75,000 in damages and removal of the Jan. 24 tweet.

Reporter Jon Krawczynski's tweet harmed Spooner's "integrity and honesty, which are essential to the performance of his profession ... of officiating NBA games," the defamation suit alleges.

Krawczynski "should have known that the statement was false or that it would create a false impression," the suit adds.

In a tweet at 7:42 p.m., as he covered the Timberwolves' home game against the Houston Rockets from near the scorer's table, Krawczynski wrote:

"Ref Bill Spooner told [Wolves coach Kurt] Rambis he'd 'get it back' after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That's NBA officiating folks."

Krawczynski declined to comment about the suit. The wire service's associate general counsel, Dave Tomlin, said, "We believe all of the facts we reported from the game in question were accurate."

When asked Tuesday for his version of events at that moment in the game, Rambis also declined to comment.

According to the suit:

The tweet came with 10 minutes and 22 seconds left in the second quarter, when Spooner called a foul against Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver on Aaron Brooks.

Between Brooks' first and second foul shots (both of which he made), Rambis questioned Spooner about the call. Spooner told Rambis he would review the call during halftime and get back to him.

Rambis responded "with words to the effect of, 'That's fine, but how do I get those points back?' " Spooner said nothing further, particularly nothing about "getting points back."

Spooner "did not ... make any new, false call based on" his halftime video review.

The tweet implied that Spooner went on to make "a false officiating call" on behalf of the Timberwolves, a "form of game fixing," the suit said. Houston won the game, 129-125.

The suit went on to allege that Krawczynski "has made a theme of his reporting persistent criticism of NBA officiating" during the current season.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482