Skip to content

Ricky Rubio impresses in first game back with Timberwolves, an overtime win over Dallas

Dec 16, 2012, 12:01 AM EST

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves lineup on Saturday, his first game action since tearing two knee ligaments last March.

In his first stint back, it was as though he never left.

Rubio was dazzling in his relatively brief appearance, and his mere presence brought an energy to the game that the Mavericks, over the course of the evening, were largely unable to match. After trailing by as many as 13 early, Minnesota got the overtime victory 114-106, to improve to 12-9 on the season.

Rubio was on a minutes limit, and was targeting playing 16-18 minutes in his return. T’Wolves head coach Rick Adelman spaced out Rubio’s minutes to perfection, choosing to bring him off the bench both late in the first quarter, and then again at the 4:37 mark of the third.

He even saved a couple of minutes just in case they were needed, which they were down the stretch as Dallas made a furious comeback to send the game into overtime, an extra session that Rubio was forced to watch from the bench.

Rubio’s final statistical line on the night wasn’t all that impressive — eight points, nine assists, three steals, and two turnovers in 18 minutes of action. Believe it or not, the assist numbers could have been much higher. Rubio had several passes that were right on target to open teammates who ended up with spectacular looks, but simply couldn’t finish.

The impact Rubio had on this game, however, went far beyond the box score.

When he checked in late in the first quarter to a wild ovation from the crowd, his team hadn’t yet found any flow, and was trailing by 10. The array of lobs, behind-the-back passes, and even one through a defender’s legs energized the building, and by the time he checked out at the 6:16 mark of the second, the Mavericks lead was down to two, and was erased entirely by a three-pointer from Alexey Shved on the very next possession.

The court vision that Rubio possesses is a rare gift, and one that’s on display from the moment he steps on the floor, no matter how long it’s been since he’s done so. The passes are almost always delivered with laser-accuracy, right on time, and to teammates that have to either be fouled or botch the play entirely for the ball not to end up going through the basket.

It wasn’t all perfect for Rubio on this night; he fouled Derek Fisher a couple of times down the stretch that gave Dallas unguarded points from the free throw line needlessly, and missed an open look from three-point distance with three seconds left that would have been the game-winner.

But that would have been too perfect an ending.

It was more than enough that he was finally back at all, and was able to showcase the energy, vision and flair that we saw from him a season ago in his very first game back.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Celtics’ top free-agent target is Kevin Love, Greg Monroe No. 2

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:08 PM EST

    Kevin Love, Greg Monroe AP

    Boston reportedly also plans to try for Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler

  2. Report: Mavericks, Heat in long line of teams interested in JaVale McGee

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:50 PM EST

    JaVale McGee JaVale McGee

    The list for him is much longer than just two teams. Much longer.

  3. Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:08 PM EST

    Kenneth Faried, Brian Shaw AP

    What kind of team are they trying to build.

  4. Kyrie Irving a gametime decision for Cavaliers vs. Celtics

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:55 PM EST

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Irving has missed two straight games with a shoulder strain.

  5. Pacers’ David West on Nuggets firing Brian Shaw: ‘That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster.’

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:10 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Shaw was an assistant coach in Indiana before landing the head coaching spot in Denver.

  6. Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw

    Mar 3, 2015, 12:38 PM EST

    Brian Shaw AP

    Nuggets are 20-39 this season.

  7. Matt Barnes says if he was the one who kicked LeBron, league would have tried to put him in jail

    Mar 3, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Barnes isn’t wrong that the punishment for him doing something like this would have been much more severe.

  8. J.J. Redick ejected for complaining to officials, says Flip Saunders told him to ‘shut the f— up’

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:50 AM EST

    J.J. Redick, Scott Twardoski J.J. Redick, Scott Twardoski

    Clippers have a reputation with the referees, which likely was why Redick was tossed for seemingly innocuous comments.

  9. Kevin Garnett gets into it with Austin Rivers, double technicals issued (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    Kevin Garnett, Bennett Salvatore AP

    KG played for Doc Rivers on the Celtics’ 2008 title team, but wasn’t willing to take any grief from his son.

  10. This is one serious basketball brawl from Spanish league (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Anadolu Efes Istanbul v Laboral Kutxa Vitoria - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Getty Images

    That had 10 times the punches of an NBA “fight.”

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (8791)
  2. R. Westbrook (8078)
  3. K. Durant (8030)
  4. D. Howard (7134)
  5. D. Cousins (6847)
  1. A. Davis (6825)
  2. L. James (6640)
  3. P. George (6412)
  4. J. Harden (6197)
  5. K. Irving (5950)