The Minnesota Timberwolves hosted a free-falling Brooklyn Nets team on Saturday night, and despite playing on a second night of a back-to-back, they gutted out a tough win by a final score of 101-86. Late in the game, though, Mike Conley accidentally caused up a bit of a stir to close out the night.

With 25 seconds left in the game, the Wolves’ final shot clock was winding down. Rather than holding the ball and collecting a team turnover, Conley shot a triple and drilled it, pushing the Wolves past the century mark. Nets guard Dennis Schroder took exception to the shot, and as Conley released the ball, he got shoved by the fiery guard, which led to the altercation. Jaden McDaniels stepped up for his teammate and shoved Schroder back.

Four technical fouls were handed out upon review, with Schorder and McDaniels obviously being among the players on the receiving end of that decision. Conley, who did not retaliate, did not receive a technical foul on the play. While Conley’s shot might have broken an unwritten rule, he felt justified in shooting the shot given the context of the situation. Postgame, the veteran point guard set the record straight on his altercation with Schroder.

Mike Conley clears the air

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley (10) talks to referee Tom Washington (49) during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Target Center.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about his skirmish with Schroder, Conley stated, “It seemed like they were double-teaming [Anthony Edwards] for a second so I thought like, ‘30 seconds on the clock, I’ll shoot it. Nobody want to shoot it, I’ll shoot it from wherever I’m at.'” This context is vitally important to the overall situation. Given Conley’s perception that Brooklyn was attempting to trap Edwards, Conley viewed the game as still competitive, even if it was out of reach.

Conley continued his statement by saying, “I wasn’t really even trying to make it, but I didn’t expect all that. At that point, I thought I was going to get a tech.” Infamously, the veteran guard has never received a technical foul throughout his 16-year NBA career. Conley’s history should be taken into consideration before jumping to any conclusions on his intentions around the late game shot. Notoriously known as a pro’s pro, Conley has become heavily decorated for his sportsmanship.

The Timberwolves’ point guard has won the NBA Sportsmanship Award three times in his career (2014, 2016, and 2019), and also in 2019, Conley was named the NBA Teammate of the Year. While late game shot clock situations may be a tricky topic at times, given his history, it’s fair to assume that Conley meant no harm in taking this shot.

Mike Conley showers Jaden McDaniels with praise

McDaniels stood up for his point guard in the altercation, and while his shove of Schroder netted him a technical foul, his actions didn't go unnoticed by Conley. The Timberwolves guard showed appreciation to his teammate after the whole ordeal. “Jaden, I just told him he’s my ‘Road Dawg’ now. He’s the first one to come to my defense, man, so I got his back from here on out.”

While it may not seem like a big grandiose action, McDaniels stepping up and defending his point guard does mean a lot, especially at this time of the year. As the postseason approaches, the closer a team is, the better. Behind the Timberwolves’ vast success this season is an underlying understanding throughout the team. Each guy supports one another. They cheer for each other, they play as a team, and they have each other’s backs. As the going gets tough, expect Minnesota’s newfound maturity and camaraderie to pay dividends come playoff time.