Good news, Minnesota Timberwolves radio voice Alan Horton: You've been vindicated.
From a statement released Tuesday by NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn:
“Through postgame video review, we have determined that Minnesota’s Kevin Love was fouled on the right arm by Dallas’ Shawn Marion while attempting a two-point field goal. Love should have been awarded two free throws with one second left on the clock.”
From a statement released Tuesday by Timberwolves fans:
Hey, thanks for nothing, Rod.
(Well, not really, but basically.)
Here's the final-seconds play in question, in case you missed it:
The no-call sealed a 100-98 win for the Dallas Mavericks, who moved three games ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff bracket. After the game, Love and Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman directly criticized the officiating crew's decision to allow Marion's contact to go unpunished, which is the sort of thing that would typically result in a fine from the commissioner's office; as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, though, neither the coach nor his star power forward have felt their wallets lightened by the league.
Tuesday's announcement marks the second time in less than a week that Thorn's office has issued a follow-up corrective of a game-altering error made by NBA officials. During last Wednesday's Christmas Day-closing contest between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, officials awarded Blake Griffin his second technical foul following a third-quarter skirmish with Warriors center Andrew Bogut, prompting the All-Star power forward's automatic ejection from the game ... which Golden State went on to win, 105-103, after outscoring the Griffin-less Clippers 30-25 in the fourth quarter. One day later, the league office acknowledged that Griffin shouldn't have gotten the gate, and that he should have received a common foul for his tangle with Bogut rather than a technical.
It's the first time this season that the Wolves have gotten the day-after, ultimately ineffectual apology from the league office, but not the first time in recent memory — the NBA's basketball operations office admitted last March that Kobe Bryant should have been whistled for a foul on Ricky Rubio on a game-closing possession that gave the Los Angeles Lakers an ill-gotten W over the Wolves, too.
It is, of course, too simplistic to say that this bit of officiating malfeasance cost Minnesota a win. If the Timberwolves are looking to point fingers and lay blame for the loss, they'd do well to find a mirror — Minny dug themselves a 19-point hole by halftime, missed a J.R. Smithian 17 3-pointers and got a whopping five points on 12 shots from its bench. (That last one didn't escape Love's notice.) Still, it's obviously frustrating to miss out on a chance to tie thanks to a call that appeared wrong at the time, and I suspect Tuesday's confirmation won't exactly make Minnesotans feel all warm and fuzzy about the way Monday's game concluded. Cold comfort's better than no comfort at all, but not by much, especially when it comes after you fell back below .500.
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