Minnesota's Mark Blount was ejected and teammate Marko Jaric was given a technical for what the officials deemed unnecessary responses to foul calls in the Timberwolves' 98-93 victory over the Bucks on Wednesday night.
The NBA recently announced that it will no longer tolerate showboating or excessive reactions after officials make calls.
"I guess they're trying to get some type of law and lay law early throughout the league," Timberwolves guard Mike James said. "It's going to be hard, but I think referees have to be more sensitive, also, and understand that we are just out there playing and it is an emotional game and not just be so quick to draw the gun, so to speak."
There was no such restraint on display at the Target Center.
Referee James Capers gave Blount a technical foul when he threw his arms up and kicked his leg in frustration after being called for a touch foul in the third quarter.
The demonstration was tame by Rasheed Wallace's standards, and Blount picked up another technical from Capers while muttering about another foul call later in the period and was ejected.
Jaric picked up a demonstration technical from Olandis Poole in the fourth when he pounded the ball with his fist after a foul call.
"Last year that definitely would not be a technical foul," Jaric said. "I don't understand if (the NBA) wants players to be emotional or you want us to be robots out there and play. It's always like, 'Oh players are too emotional,' or 'Players are too cold and don't care.'
"(Figure out) how you want to play this game."
Ricky Davis scored 22 points and Kevin Garnett hit all seven of his shots from the field and scored 17 points for the Timberwolves.
Michael Redd scored 20 points and Charlie Villanueva added 14 points and six rebounds in his first game for the Bucks since being acquired from Toronto in a trade for point guard T.J. Ford.
The Bucks played without starters Andrew Bogut and Bobby Simmons. Bogut is out six to eight weeks with a lower leg sprain, and Simmons was a late scratch with a bruised right heel. He's listed as day-to-day.
But after the game, all the talk was about the officials.
"They made the calls they said they were going to call," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "They said they were going to emphasize that at the beginning of the season."
Garnett expressed frustration with stricter enforcement of dress codes, including limiting the length and number of wrist and arm bands a player can wear, in addition to the new policing of emotion.
"That's not basketball," Garnett said. "This league is about basketball, guys who can play it at the highest level. We shouldn't be worried about this nit-picky (stuff)."
Blount was unavailable for comment after the game.
"Everything that the league puts out, I try to abide by it. I'm not a rebel like that," Garnett said. "But at the same time, when you get into how guys play and the character and identity of what makes them in this league, it gets a little erratic. That's when you sort of draw the line."
After Blount was tossed, Garnett approached Capers to get an explanation of what happened. He said it is imperative that officials and players work together in the preseason to communicate on what will and will not be tolerated.
"The people that get the techs are emotional people. Do we cross the line sometimes? We walk it. ... If you want to fine the individual person, that's what it is," Garnett said. "To the fact that you can't really speak to the refs, the refs don't want to hear it. That's almost like Communism. That's like Castro."
Clearly Garnett was just illustrating his frustration and not comparing NBA officials to Fidel Castro, but the point remains -- communication is the key.
"If you can, just continue to talk to us," Garnett said he told Capers. "There needs to be a period in which we all get accustomed to the rules. It's not just like you program it in us. It takes a little time and talking to us definitely, definitely helps."