MINNEAPOLIS – Any chance the Dallas Mavericks had of putting together a rally and defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night went out the window with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
That’s when star point guard Luka Doncic – along with coach Jason Kidd – each received a pair of technical fouls and were ejected. At the time, the Mavs were trailing, 85-69.
The Timberwolves went on to win, 116-106, at the Target Center and increased their record to 16-15, while the Mavs dropped to 15-16. The Mavs will now face the Timberwolves here again on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before moving on to Houston and finishing this four-game road trip on Friday night against the Rockets.
On the play shortly before Kidd and Doncic were ejected, Doncic went up for a shot and was bumped by a Minnesota defender, but no whistle was blown. And after Reggie Bullock was charged with a foul on the ensuing trip up the floor, both Kidd and Doncic each received a pair of technical fouls after complaining too vehemently to the officials.
Doncic finished with 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and had his streak of scoring 20 or more point snapped at 36 straight games. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Mavs with 20 points and seven assists, Davis Bertans scored 18 points, Christian Wood had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Kemba Walker added 14 points.
Kidd didn’t take any questions after the game, but came to the postgame press room and issued a quick 20-second remark.
“I’m here because I have to be,” Kidd said. “I already gave up money, so I don’t want to give up any more, so no questions.
“We’ll go back and look at the tape and see how we can get better. They were the better team tonight and we’ll go from there. Thanks for showing up.”
Doncic, meanwhile, said he got no explanation from the referees on what prompted his two technical fouls.
“I probably deserved the one, but two, for sure, no,” Doncic said. “I deserved the first one — I’m not going to lie. For sure not the second one.
“I was really shocked.”
Doncic said it was confusing that he got the second technical foul, which brought the automatic ejection.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “I heard that I got ejected. I was like, oh, that’s a surprise.”
Earlier in the game, the Mavs went up, 37-29, following a three-pointer by Davis Bertans with 7:41 left before halftime. But from there, the Mavs spent the rest of the half just trying to locate the basket.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves turned up the juice and outscored the Mavs, 20-2, to take a 49-39 lead 1:49 remaining in the first half.
It was a period where the Mavs went over six minutes without scoring any points.
“I think it was just our energy,” Doncic said. “They obviously were the better team today — (with) more energy. I think our body language, especially mine, was not the right one. So we just got to figure that out.”
Naz Reid and Edwards provided the one-two punch for the Timberwolves as each played scored 27 points and collected 13 rebounds. Edwards also added nine assists. Also for Minnesota, Jaylen Nowell scored 18 points.
Edwards, meanwhile, tossed in four consecutive free throws following the twin technical fouls levied against Kidd and Doncic. That pushed the Timberwolves ahead, 89-69, and they were never seriously challenged after that.
Overall, the Mavs shot 40.8 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from the three-point stripe and converted 25 of their 31 free throws, and were whistled for 23 fouls. On the flip side, the Timberwolves made 47.2 percent of their field goals, 38.7 percent of their three-pointers, and were 20-of-24 from the charity stripe and were charged with 24 fouls.
By the end of the game the Mavs knew they have to do a much better job on Wednesday of containing Reid and Edwards if they want to get out of Minnesota with a split of the two games played in the Twin Cities. Those two usually are support players to Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, both of whom sat out the game.
“We just (have to) make it hard on them,” Doncic said. “Don’t foul, and make it hard and force them into some tough shots.”
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