CHICAGO — Timberwolves president David Kahn made a pit stop at United Center Tuesday night, stopping on his way back from Minnesota’s game in Boston Monday night and a meeting in New York Tuesday morning. Kahn said he hadn’t yet seen the Toronto Raptors in person this season, and the Wolves have Toronto at Target Center later this month.
When it was casually mentioned to Kahn that his team still needs a “closer” — the Wolves lost to the Celtics 96-93 after leading 85-77 with 6:55 left — he challenged that conventional wisdom. “Michael was our closer last night,” Kahn said, referring to forward Michael Beasley, who scored six points in the final 1:48. Kahn was more bothered by the Wolves’ 17 turnovers, which led directly to 19 Boston points. Among them: a 5-second inbounds turnover, a shot clock violation in the fourth quarter and Martell Webster stepping out of bounds.
Actually, the Wolves haven’t been very good in close games this season: 4-15 when the margin is less than 10 points, 2-12 when it is six points or less. But losing close games has to be considered progress for a team that went 4-39 in games decided by 10 points or more. They were 11-28 in 2009-10 when the margin was single digits.
Kahn also said that the Wolves were sending to the NBA office for review tape of Luke Ridnour’s traveling call with 9.5 seconds left. Ridnour broke to the basket and received a pass with a chance to put Minnesota up 95-94. But he took what sure looked like three steps (no dribble) and it was called that way. The Wolves had to foul and when they finally caught up with Nate Robinson in the backcourt with 4.6 seconds left, the backup Celtics guard sank both foul shots. Then Beasley missed an off-balance 3-pointer.
Kahn said that, when he saw Ridnour’s cut to the rim in replay, he wasn’t convinced it was a travel. Even though Boston’s Ray Allen blocked Ridnour’s layup attempt, the Wolves would have had the ball with 9.5 seconds, still down 94-93. Again, though, the Wolves are just seeking clarification — they’re not protesting the outcome. Because, y’know, no one ever successfully protests anyway.