The NBA announced their officiating crew made two incorrect calls down the stretch in the Timberwolves win over the Thunder Sunday night.
The Sunday night matchup between the Timberwolves and the Thunder was widely anticipated. Both teams feature a talented group of star players, and the game went down to the wire, with Timberwolves star guard Andrew Wiggins banking in a 3-point shot as time expired. According to the league’s standard Last Two Minutes report from that game, the entire sequenced shouldn’t have happened.
ESPN.com writer Royce Young reports that the NBA deemed the screen Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns used to free Wiggins to be illegal. Also, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau was attempting to call a timeout, something the officiating crew also missed.
"Karl-Anthony Towns’ screen on Paul George that freed Wiggins was ruled to have been illegal, based on Towns’ stance being too wide. The report notes that Towns was stationary but his leg was out, which clipped George.“I ain’t looked at it, but I’m pretty sure, it looked like it [was illegal],” Russell Westbrook said after the Thunder’s 115-113 loss to the Timberwolves. “I haven’t seen it, but I think it is, just based on the conversation we had in the locker room.”"
While no officiating crew is perfect, it’s a general expectation that the bigger the stage, the better the performance. The missed timeout and the illegal screen could have both changed the outcome equally. Luckily for the Thunder and the NBA officials, the loss and blunder came early in the season. There will be plenty of time for mistakes and miscues to be corrected. But, the NBA doesn’t want these types of habits to become ingrained. Make the mistakes now, but let’s get them fixed by the time the games really matter.