Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 98: Ed Malloy up in here

Zach Harper —  December 31, 2013 — 17 Comments

EdMaLOLy

If you want to be cute about how you view the final play of this game, you immediately pull out the old rule book and read off the section in which the “hand is part of the ball.” It’s a valid rule. I cite it often when a player gets hit on the hand as he’s going up for a shot. The hand is literally part of the ball in the NBA rulebook and it’s a good rule. It’s not just an excuse for Sidney Deane to avoid getting a foul called on him when going to Sizzler is possibly on the line (I know that didn’t happen during the Sizzler bet but you try leaving that out and see how fun it is).

Here’s the problem with citing the “hand is part of the ball” rule: when you reach across someone’s body and have to make contact with the wrist and forearm in order to make contact with the hand, it kind of negates the citation of said rule. And by “kind of” I mean it completely negates it. That’s the problem I have with this conversation. You can view this play as a blown call and it doesn’t mean the league is running rampant with Tim Donaghy clones that are lying to avoid laws he doesn’t understand.

Here is where I stand on this:

1) Kevin Love was fouled and to suggest otherwise is comical. I get it; you either want to be different or you want your Mavericks to have a valid win. To ignore an obvious blown call seems silly to me, whether you’re a Mavericks fan or Ed Malloy. Especially if you’re Ed Malloy.

2) The Mavericks’ win is still valid. This game didn’t come down to one missed call and one missed call only. The Wolves played like crap for 24 minutes and the Mavs pounced all over it. The Wolves’ poor energy and play for the first half of basketball put them in this situation that was completely avoidable. We also don’t know the Wolves win this game if the correct call is made. I’m fine admitting Dallas won this game fair-and-square enough because the Wolves didn’t come to play until the third quarter.

3) Also, if you’re a Mavericks fan and Dirk Nowitzki gets hit like that from Corey Brewer, are you rolling with the people that say “hand is part of the ball” or are you lighting Mark Cuban’s pitchfork on fire or whatever rioting villagers do? If you’d want a foul one way but justify it in your favor the other way, we can’t have this conversation. I think it’s more than acceptable to say that Marion got away with one but you’ll still take the victory. Seriously, there isn’t anything wrong with that.

4) That still doesn’t mean the call shouldn’t have been made. Marion is reaching across Love’s body and slapping a lot of parts of his arm, including the hand. Making a lot of contact with the hand doesn’t negate making contact with the rest of the arm.

5) The Wolves and Kevin Love have been on the benefit of a poor foul on a reach-in before that was allegedly clean:

There is no way that’s a foul from Andre Iguodala. It’s completely clean and legal. That’s what a clean defensive play looks like, even though he got whistled for the foul that cost them the game. What Shawn Marion did to Love is nothing even close to this. I’m not saying it excuses the foul by Marion not being called either; just remembered it and decided to mention it here with some video evidence.

(It also allows me to re-tell the story of the Sixers have 0.1 seconds left on the clock and the Wolves putting Darko Milicic in for his only action in the game. He tipped the inbound lob off the backboard, causing a brief moment of panic from certain players on the Wolves. In the locker room after the game, they were joking about how they thought Darko was going to tip it into the basket, which would have pissed them off but they still would have laughed about it because, “it would have been the most Darko moment ever.” That’s an actual quote from one of the players on the team at the time.

The beauty of it was Darko was standing next to him when he said it and didn’t seem affected by it. That’s just simply what he was and he seemed to accept it. His teammates were openly making fun of him in front of him like he wasn’t even there. He didn’t care. Miss you, buddy [never].)

There were other aspects to this game though, outside of the horrendous no-call. I’m going to keep numbering stuff here because it means I don’t have to try to weave it all together into one flowing recap:

6. The bench was horrendous again. JJ Barea had all five of the bench’s points, which would have been fine for him except he also turned the ball over five times. In the first half, the bench had six shot attempts and eight turnovers. That’s not acceptable in any way and there’s no way to sugarcoat it or look for a bright side in that respect. Barea also jacked up a bad 3-pointer when he saw Ricky Rubio was checking in for him around the 4:44 mark. The Wolves were down two and it ended up being a wasted possession.

I’ll defend Barea because I believe in his role on the team and think his running mates don’t do him any favors this season. It doesn’t excuse his bad decisions, but I guess I’ve just learned to accept the bad with the good, even if the bad outweighs the good through the first two months. But that stuff has to stop when you’re having a bad game. Barea was definitely having a bad game too. It was a wasted possession in what turned out to be a one possession game. Who knows what the butterfly effect is if they get a quality shot and make it at that point in the game? It would have been cool to find out though.

7. Rubio came back into the game for Barea at the 3:43 mark. Rick Adelman sent Rubio to the scorer’s table with a little under five minutes left in the game but some thought it was a little late in the quarter. Adelman essentially admitted as such after the game when he said he could have gone to Rubio a minute or so earlier. He thought there would be a timeout sooner but didn’t want to burn one because the Wolves were running low on timeouts. Getting organized ended up being a premium necessity at the end of games so I understand why he didn’t burn one. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off.

8. Seriously, Ed Malloy is so bad.

9. Aside from the foul that wasn’t called, Marion obliterated the Wolves tonight. They kept leaving him in open space and he kept making them pay. I don’t even think it was so much that this was the gameplan; I think they just rotated poorly and when they did, Marion was the guy that ended up with the open looks. He cashed in on them too.

10. I thought this was one of Rubio’s better games but because he didn’t score it will be overlooked. We get it; he is shooting like crap this year. But we have to stop saying it’s a bad year for him just because someone blurted it out. There is surprisingly more to the game than shooting.

11. In related news, Kevin Love is a ridiculous shooter and a phenomenal scorer. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are better scorers than Kevin Love in terms of ability. After that, Love is firmly the fourth best scorer in the league. He’s so damn good at it.

12. Dante Cunningham looked like he was suffering from some kind of ailment. He almost refused to put up shots and when he did, his jumper looked like a machine that needed some oil. If he doesn’t have it going on a night like this in terms of energy, I’d love to see Gorgui Dieng get a shot.

13. The defense was certainly terrible in the first half but the third and fourth quarter showed this team is capable of making adjustments, throwing the effort out there, and getting stops. They didn’t rely on just forcing turnovers either. They cut off lanes, contested shots, and Love did a great job on Dirk. The capability is there but is the focus? That’s the big question when it comes to their defense. I don’t think it’s ability at all; it’s buying in.

14. Brandan Wright is a glitch in the matrix.

15. Alan Horton’s radio call of the play is really great, especially the part when he recognizes the positioning of Ed Malloy during a replay (TwinCities.com):

Almost makes the whole thing worth it… ALMOST…

Zach Harper

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17 responses to Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 98: Ed Malloy up in here

  1. Zach, it’s this, and all this:

    6. The bench was horrendous again. JJ Barea had all five of the bench’s points, which would have been fine for him except he also turned the ball over five times. In the first half, the bench had six shot attempts and eight turnovers. That’s not acceptable in any way and there’s no way to sugarcoat it or look for a bright side in that respect. Barea also jacked up a bad 3-pointer when he saw Ricky Rubio was checking in for him around the 4:44 mark. The Wolves were down two and it ended up being a wasted possession.

    can we just skip blaming the refs for this one. I know it makes it easier for the team, the mirror is not easy to look at after a loss like this and the refs make such fine scapegoats..

    5 points, the bench scored 5 measly points. That’s not the refs fault…

  2. I don’t care how we justify it, that no call directly impacted the outcome of the game, plain and simple. This had the making of a season-marking, confidence building win and because of the no call, we’ll never know.

    I don’t care that Rubio can’t score, his energy late in games is really valuable to this team and I love just how annoying he is to ball handlers. Kevin Martin has either regressed to the mean or is just a head case right now. The more I watch the Wolves though, the more glaring our complete lack of rim protection is. I think the reason we allow one of the fewest fta/g is because we let players finish at the rim untouched. No one is athletic enough to challenge at the cylinder, my jaw even dropped when Love caught the alley-oop from Pek because Ive just assumed Love cant jump high enough to finish a play like that.

  3. If this team could play any amount of defense we wouldn’t be talking about the million other things that happened in this game. If your whole win depends on one call or one substitution, that tells a lot about who should win the game. We can’t be so fragile. We need to get to the place where we win despite these things not lose because of them. I love this team but it boggles my mind how often we talk about “energy level” or “focus”. They’re still missing the attitude they need to get over the hump. The talent is definitely there as we see often. Hopefully we get that “swagger” or “chip” soon. Go Wolves!

  4. Wolves Slate Blue December 31, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Last night’s game needed more Gorgui Dieng

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc471gm4a81rugrt1o2_1280.jpg

  5. I was not able to watch this game, only the stats page on ESPN. I was wondering how contested Pek’s layup was at the end there? It seems to be a trend where he can’t finish at the end of games.

  6. 1. It’s okay to think they didn’t deserve to win while also thinking that was a bad call; I was more disgusted with the team than the refs but still wanted to see Love have a chance to tie and see them try it out in OT.
    2. It’s like confidence with this team quickly turns to dysfunction. They get 38 in the 3rd and come right back with 9 in the first 8 minutes of the 4th.
    3. Zach, has anyone asked Adelman why Barea and Pek play so many minutes together? My guess would be D, but I’ve never seen a small player struggle with post-entry passes as much as Barea has this season.
    4. In the second half, it looked like they fouled Pek on half of the possessions (both on his shot attempts and on the defensive glass). Now that the flop seekers on this team aren’t getting rewarded as much, start calling it when Pek is fouled.
    5. I don’t know how Jose Calderon can jump on Rubio’s back and not have it be a foul.
    6. Their movement off the ball is much weaker than it was to start the season. They make themselves much easier to guard with no motion.

    It bothers me that, after losing some games against bad matchups (like Denver), they have a favorable matchup and have to rely on the final possession because they didn’t take a veteran team and a good coach seriously enough.

  7. That Al Horton call was priceless. I do almost feel better between that and Jim Peterson letting viewers know that he wasn’t sure if he could make it through the post-game segment because he was sick to his stomach over the “criminal” call.

  8. I found a video of it, not an easy shot, but one he makes often. I am more concerned about the perimeter D. I saw a bunch of uncontested 3′s, was that our wing defenders not rotating or was it Love hedging off to be in better rebound position?

  9. Dean, here is what we know, the team went down by 20. the bench scored 5 points. they (the bench) turned the ball over 9 times. JJ 5 of them all by himself. Yeah, the call was bad, but that’s not the reason we lost the game.

    We lost the game because the team came out in that first quarter and played like crap. They then followed that up by playing even worse in the 2nd. You want to build confidence? Try player better for 48 minutes.

  10. I have never disagreed with a foul call or non foul call as much as I disagreed with the non foul call at the end of the game. I wrote the NBA head of officiating immediately after the game. I have never written done anything like that in my life. The very integrity of the game I question after that non call. Literally the NBA should replay the end of the game. I have lost interest in watching the next game. It would not surprise if the official was paid off or if the game was rigged against the Wolves.

  11. Matt J, don’t be ridiculous. There are missed calls every game. Wolves didn’t lose the game because of this call. They lost because the bench didn’t do their job. To say that an official is taking bribes to rig a game against the wolves is a very serious accusation. To write to the head of officiating because of a what you think is blown call will only make them laugh at you. You are not helping the wolves in doing this or coming with unfounded accusations.

  12. The Wolves shouldn’t have been in that position, you’re right, but that doesn’t excuse incompetency on the officials part. They say in the UFC (or MMA in general) to not leave it up to the judges, because they are so bad, but acknowledging that they are bad and blaming fighters for giving them an opportunity to not do their job correctly is a bit silly.

    The bottom line is the Wolves should have played better AND the refs should have done their job.

    It’s not an either or situation.

  13. We are the Blazers of last year. Solid starting 5, with nothing behind them. Hopefully we figure out how to shore up the bench like they did this offseason before the rest of this season goes by and we end up on the outside looking in because the bench can’t hold any leads or help us get back into any games.

  14. The smarty pantses who are like “that missed call didn’t cost the Wolves the game, there are a hundred other things that cost them the game” are missing the point completely. They are confusing performance with process and the result that was generated. It is like saying if it turned out that in the 2012 Presidential elections, a Governor threw away a bunch of votes to try to hand his state to his candidate, for “smart” political pundits to say “yes, but that didn’t cost X the election, there were a hundred things he could have done to win.” That is irrelevant, a systemic wrong was committed. The results aside the process has to be fair and make sense and refs refusing to call that foul on Love is not fair and makes no sense for the game of basketball. Whether the Wolves could have performed better in this particular game is totally irrelevant to the process fail that cost them at least a chance to tie.

  15. I wrestled in high school some. I watched professional wrestling and thought what a joke it is fake and phony compared to the real thing. That last call was fake and phony. I am done watching the wolves for a while. That just tainted the whole thing for me. It was just like professional wrestling for me. There is a reason why the Wolves have been so terrible for so long and Milwaukee and other similar teams and it is not just talent and brains – what a bunch of phony baloney.

  16. Mac, you are confusing a bad call as the reason the Wolves lost the game with the fact that their play put them is a position that 1 bad call COULD cost them the game..

    The bench scores 9 points what would have happened? or they don’t turn the ball over 9 times by themselves What would have happened? Or the team does not have to come back from 20+ points down? It is the sum of the whole that cost them that game not just one of the parts within that equation.

    It’s not that we’re “smarty pantses” It’s that we are capable of seeing the entire picture not just the portion of it we chose to see while ignoring the rest.

  17. Zach, that audio tape of the “doh Ed Malloy!” is the funniest thing I have heard in a while. My son and I are trying to figure out how to make it my ring tone. Will be great to hear my phone repeatedly chime out “doh Ed Malloy!” at work! Can not thank you enough, made my day.

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