Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The return of Rubio puts Minnesota in a passing mindset
Sometimes having a good example to follow is all it takes.
Tonight, the Spanish Unicorn took to the
sky court (to a deafening standing ovation...no question who's selling the tickets at Target Center) and promptly reminded us all why he was so sorely missed: he makes his teammates better. It's really that simple.
Starting with 'Sota's first tilt of the season with Denver, we (meaning I) have ponderously charted the predictability of the Puppy offense (and that's ponderous as in 'as predictable as Christian Ponder (oh snap)) Rubio looks to be reversing that trend. He got his teammates the ball. And they got each other the ball.
6 Timberwolfers had at least 3 assists (including Pekovic. My god, just 1 assist shy of his career high!) with Ruuufio (BANGARANG) leading the charge with 9. Not only that, but it wasn't just making the right pass or the smart pass, it was everyone making the inspired pass. Rubio started the prestige by dropping a dime between Elton Brand's legs to Greg Steimsma, who nearly botched the layup because he was expecting Ricky to loft the ball up over Brand's head (lesson #1 Greg: Spanish Unicorns are unpredictable creatures) Then it just kept going and going and going to the point that even Pek was doing Jason Kidd impressions. Overtime ball, and somehow Pekovic beats everyone down the floor (what?), then gets the ball, then.....drops it off to a trailing Kirilenko? It's like his positrons got negatized.
Well, that and Rubio.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: for this team to succeed, it needs to play crazy people basketball. The kind that looks like sheer random movement, but is brilliantly designed to take advantage of the court vision of guys like Kirilenko and Shved and Rubio. None of this post-repost-rerepost while everyone else stands around stuff. Know what your team is built for and do it.
- Kirilenko: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks. And he committed just 1 foul in over 40 minutes of playing time. A++++++
- For shame, Utah. For shame.
- Oh, and that thing about how he likes to steal tip offs? Got the Wolves a free bucket at the start of overtime.
- With both Lee and Roy out, Shved got the start at the 2 spot, and well....18 points, 6 assists, 2 steals. The guy is legit. That said, I won't argue with Adelman if he sends Shved back to a Ginobili roll when other healthy bodies return. Alexey embodies the philosophy of it being more important to be on the court at the end than the beginning
- And uhhh.....I love you Rubio, but Shved should have been the one with the ball at the end of regulation there...
- OJ Mayo is having a hell of a year. And considering he (theoretically) should have that much more space when Dirk gets back, he may just be starting. Finally showing why his draft stock was so high. Were it not for Shved, I'd have spent the first part of this season repeatedly questioning why we didn't try to sign this guy.
- I'm not sure which Der(r)e(ic)k had the more surprising offensive explosion in this one. Maybe a positive sign? If anyone can get Williams involved for us, it's Rubio.
- Not sure why Dallas doesn't like Darren Collison. They certainly paid a pretty price to get him.
- Pekovic had 9 rebounds tonight. 7 of them were on the offensive end. Not sure if that's good or bad.
- The Matrix can still ball.
- The Clippers basically turned their game against the Bucks into a dunk contest with each other.
- Kevin Garnett and Kevin McHale had a very emotional moment last night in the Rockets/Celtics game. McHale, as many of you know, lost his 23 year old daughter Sasha recently, who was someone KG watched grow up while he was here in 'Sota.
- It was more than just offering condolences, and honestly more than just the loss of Sasha. KG and McHale spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears here and there were a lot of bitter feelings about the way it ended. In a real sense, this was about the two finally letting it all be water under the bridge between them.
- Kyrie Irving is injured again. This time he broke his face. He responded by wearing a mask and dropping 41 on the Knicks (albeit still in a loss) and well....are we going to have another Rip Hamilton situation here?
- Skyfall was just as epic the second time seeing it as the first.