Each time Wolves coach Ryan Saunders reviews game film it includes some self-evaluation of what Saunders himself could have done better.
"I'm critical of myself on every game," Saunders said. "I think that's how you have to be as a coach."
The volume from fans has turned up on Saunders as the Wolves have lost 10 of their last 11, including a game they should not have let get away Wednesday in a 97-96 loss to Orlando.
Saunders spent a significant portion of his media session Thursday answering for some of his late-game decisions, most notable the decision not to call a timeout when Jarred Vanderbilt grabbed a defensive rebound with the Wolves up two with 7.2 seconds remaining.
The Magic fouled Vanderbilt, a career 51% free-throw shooter, with 4.6 seconds left. A timeout could have allowed the Wolves to get the ball in the hands of their better free-throw shooters. Vanderbilt then missed his two free throws, which led to the game winner from Cole Anthony at the other end as time expired.
Saunders said he thought Vanderbilt was going to pass down the floor to an open Naz Reid, and that's one reason he didn't call a timeout.
"I saw him look up, thought it was a clear pass to Naz. With them not having a timeout, I thought that would be a good decision right there," Saunders said. "It's easy to look back in hindsight in a lot of ways, but I have confidence in Jarred, too. I've said for a long time, I have confidence in our players. But there's a lot of things that could happen, too."
Such as not being able to get the ball inbounds again or a steal from Orlando off the pass, Saunders said.
"So there are things you've got to weigh," Saunders said. "I thought we had an open path to get the ball up the floor there, and it didn't happen."
Saunders also answered questions involving his late-game lineup decisions, specifically the choices to pair D'Angelo Russell with another ballhandler in Jordan McLaughlin when Russell could be capable of initiating the offense on his own.
"They were X-ing or trapping D-Lo in the pick and roll and if you remember last year some games down the stretch before the shutdown we were playing D-Lo and Jordan together," Saunders said. "Getting him off the ball a little bit where he can kind of have a live dribble to operate, so that's not something new for us. I stand by that decision."
Saunders also said he stood the decision to play Reid over the more defensive-minded and veteran Ed Davis.
"You can always look back and say hey, we were up, you need some defensive stops right there, let's have a guy who's a rebounder in there," Saunders said. "I thought Naz was playing well in a lot of things he was able to do, so that was what my gut had told me. But I would've felt comfortable with both guys."
Despite the heat Saunders has been getting from fans on social media, players have stood by their coach in their public comments.
"He's not getting a fair chance to showcase our team, our full team," Russell said.
Meanwhile, Malik Beasley said Saunders has helped the team improve despite the record, even if that's not likely to quiet the voices questioning Saunders.
"He sees little things," Beasley said. "When you watch film we've been growing over the last few days, even though we lost. We're starting to defend. We had one of our best defending halves last game and that's progress. That's what you've got to see as a coach. You can't just look at the bad things and he's been doing a great job of that."