Five technicals, an ejection, a sprained ankle and another Wolves loss
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
MINNEAPOLIS -- After playing the San Antonio Spurs tough three times this season -- including Sunday night -- the Minnesota Timberwolves thought they were close to finally overcoming the leagues best team.
After trailing by as many as 16 in the first half the Wolves had cut the Spurs lead to six midway through the third quarter when all hell broke loose.
At the 8:36 mark in the 3rd quarter referee Ken Mauer -- cousin of Twins catcher Joe Mauer -- whistled Corey Brewer and Darko Milicic for simultaneous technical fouls for reacting negatively to a personal foul called on Brewer.
Rambis sprung out of his chair to say something to Mauer and was almost immediately given back-to-back techicanls and subsequently ejected. Rambis left the floor to a standing ovation by a suddenly-interested Target center crowd.
After the dust settled, Manu Ginobli made four free-throws for the technical to bring the Spurs lead back to 10. On the ensuing Spurs possession from the technicals, Kevin Love fought for a rebound with DeJuan Blair and was given a technical of his own for reacting negatively to what he thought was a foul on Blair.
All told, the Wolves were called for five technical fouls in 10 seconds.
Not surprisingly, this was a first for the entire Wolves locker room had ever seen anything like it.
"I have never seen that before, five like that in a row," Love said. "That was a first."
"That was my first time in basketball seeing two techincals at the same time," Brewer said. "It was the first time I've seen five in a row."
It was the first career technical for Brewer and just the second for Love but, smartly, both chose their words carefully after the game,
"I like my money so I don't want to say anything too outlandish," Love said. "That was crazy."
Rambis refused comment on his ejection and the technical-spree in general.
The controversy sparked the Wolves players and the typically apathetic Target Center crowd for a brief spurt that included going 4-of-5 shooting on their next five possesions but -- as was par for the course the majority of the evening -- the Spurs finished by toying with the over-matched, frustrated, coach-less Wolves team.
Michael Beasley played despite a sprained ankle but was mostly ineffective 28 minutes before his night ended with 3:49 left in the game when he landed awkwardly after making a three-pointer and re-sprained his ankle. Beasley had to be helped off the court by Darko and Luke Ridnour.
After the game Beasley said the sprain was worse than it was on Sunday and he couldn't walk on it
"Just got to give it a couple days," Beasley said. "Give it a couple days of rest. That was the third game straight I stepped on somebody's foot."
Thankfully for the Wolves, Martell Webster stepped up during Beasley's struggles with 18 points off the bench. Webster's 16 points in the first half single-handedly kept the Wolves heads above water when the Spurs shot a red-hot 8-of-11 from three.
Kevin Love continued to rack up the type of stats that will make it absurd if he is kept off the 2011 All-Star team. Love finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds, his sixth 20-20 game of the season. His numbers were also good for his 25th consecutive double-double and 34th of the season. Love is now beginning to flirt with Kevin Garnett's franchise record of 37 consecutive double-doubles.
But Love, the definition of a team player, took no joy in his individual performance, crumpling up the stat page in the locker room out of disgust for another loss.
"Keep fighting, keep pressing and tomorrow is a new day," Love said.
The Spurs have not only beaten the Wolves three straight times this season but have won 16 consecutive times overall-- the current longest such streak in the NBA.
The Wolves welcome back former coach Flip Saunders Thursday night when the Washington Wizards come to town before wrapping up the current homestand with the Orlando Magic Saturday night.