The NBA modified the policy for its Two-Minute Report starting this season, choosing to issue them now for any game within three points in the final two minutes of a fourth quarter or overtime rather than five points previously.
Either way, many coaches and players aren’t sure just what’s the point.
The reports debuted in March 2015 as one of several league “transparency” initiatives intended to build awareness and understanding of the game’s rules and processes.
The one the NBA released last week that determined officials missed not one but two calls in the final five seconds of the Timberwolves’ buzzer-beating victory at Oklahoma City didn’t make Thunder coach Billy Donovan feel any better or worse about Andrew Wiggins’ winning three-pointer.
“The NBA office took care of that, that’s their job,” Donovan said. “It’s unfortunate for us, but if Wiggins’ shot doesn’t go in, nobody’s talking about it.”
The league ruled Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau signaled for a timeout his team didn’t have after Carmelo Anthony’s three-pointer gave the Thunder the lead in a game Oklahoma City trailed almost all night. It also ruled that moments later Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns set an illegal screen trying to impede Thunder star Paul George from following Wiggins and the ball up court.
George was knocked down, Wiggins continued on and the Wolves won on a desperation shot.
Asked two days later if his screen was illegal, Towns said he didn’t care, all he cared about was that his team won.
And therein lies the rub.
“I mean, it doesn’t change the outcome just because they put the Two-Minute Report out,” Towns said. “If we were on the flip side and we were Oklahoma City, they wouldn’t have us redo the game and win the game. That’s not going to happen. It don’t matter. Two-Minute Report, Twitter, they’re all going to go crazy over whatever happens.”
After thorough reviews of game video by its staff, the NBA releases late the next afternoon a detailed account regarding all officiating calls and meaningful noncalls in those final two minutes of games that meet the criteria.
Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and many other NBA coaches pay little or no attention to them.
“I never look at the Two-Minute Reports and when I do hear about them, I don’t ever recall one that’s ever done anything,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t really understand them. You look at the report and you see a missed call late in the game that you pretty much already knew was a missed call, and the fact that they’re telling you it was a missed call, I don’t know why that would make you feel any better.
“I don’t understand the purpose of it, I really don’t.”
Thibodeau said he understands the league’s good intentions. “There’s nothing that you’re really going to gain from it,” he said. “They’re trying to be transparent, which I think is good. But it’s after the fact.”
But if it weren’t …
“If we could go back and replay it, it’d have more significance and meaning,” Wolves veteran guard Jamal Crawford said. “But if we can’t, it doesn’t matter.”
Donovan said he tries to keep up on the reports but, like most NBA coaches, only really hears about them it includes his team in a decisive way.
“I appreciate the transparency by the NBA, trying to be forthright and open and honest about the different situations that happen in the last two minutes,” he said. “But those are things out of our control. We’re not officials. We can’t blow the whistles. So we have to worry about what we need to be doing.”
• New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins delivered 41 points, 23 rebounds and six assists in his much-anticipated return to Sacramento, where he played nearly seven seasons. His team won without fellow star Anthony Davis, too, coming back from 19 down to win 114-106 Thursday. Nobody had reached 41 points, 23 rebounds and six assists in a game since Joe Barry Carroll in 1987.
“It was beautiful, man,” Cousins told TNT afterward. “A lot of people who know me know I was nervous as hell. I’m thankful for the years I had in this city. The city and the fans were great to me. I enjoyed my time here. At the end of the day, it’s nothing but love.”
• The Timberwolves last week took their first look at the Detroit Pistons’ new home, the $863 million Little Caesars Arena built for the NHL’s Red Wings. Veteran Wolves might miss the suburban Palace of Auburn Hills because of so many memorable games played there. But they won’t miss its visitors’ locker room.
“It was all of 30 square feet,” center Cole Aldrich said, embellishing just a touch. “The only one that might have been smaller was the old one at Madison Square Garden.”
• Ten years ago Tuesday, Wolves center Al Jefferson fought his way against a departing Target Center heavy metal concert crowd to sign at the deadline a life-changing $65 million contract. He was 22 then. He’s 32 now and is with his fifth NBA team in Indiana. He shrugged last week when asked if he still wonders what might have been if he and Kevin Love spent a career together.
“That was so long ago,” he said. “When you’re in this business as long as I’ve been, a lot of things happen and change over the years. You can sit there and say if KG [Kevin Garnett] didn’t decide to come to Boston, I could have been there with Paul [Pierce] and Ray Allen, could have won a championship. Everything happens for a reason. Kevin had a hell of a career, and I’ve done well for myself after leaving here. It all happened for the best.”
WOLVES’ WEEK AHEAD
Monday: 6:30 p.m. at Miami
Wednesday: 7 p.m. at New Orleans
Saturday: 7 p.m. vs. Dallas
Mon and Wed on FSN. Sat on FSN Plus
Player to watch: DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans
The mercurial other half of the Pelicans’ big-man tag team is coming off an emotional, successful return to Sacramento on Thursday.
“Gorgeous, Georges, his name.”
Oklahoma City star Paul George apparently searching for the correct pronunciation of Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng, rather than paying him a compliment. We think …
Twitter: @JerryZgoda, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Blog: startribune.com/wolves