The Wolves haven't had much need as of late to ponder and polish their game-ending celebrations, so Ricky Rubio brought one with him all the way from Spain.
Rubio delighted a curious Target Center audience with his no-look passes and floppy hair during his first NBA game of any sort Saturday night.
Then he perhaps gave them a glimpse of the future when he heaved the basketball high into the air when the final seconds of a 117-96 victory over Milwaukee ticked away, even if it was just preseason.
"I always try to do when we win," he said. "It's like a ritual."
Rubio said he was a "little bit" nervous to play at Target Center and against real NBA competition for the first time. He played exactly half the game and delivered a 6-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound, 2-steal, 1-foul, 1-turnover evening in 24 minutes.
"Even if it wasn't NBA regular game season, it was my first game in U.S. and of course I was a little bit nervous," he said. "It was before. When you come to the court, you forget about everything. You just want to play. You just want to do what you know to do and that's it."Next time?
Rubio sent a crowd that so wants to believe in him all atwitter when he sent Bucks guard Shaun Livingston stumbling with a hesitation dribble or made a simple bounce-pass to Luke Ridnour for a fast-break layup Saturday. Then those fans went practically apoplectic when he lobbed two fourth-quarter, alley-oop passes to fellow rookie Derrick Williams, who converted the first one into a thunderous slam but lost control of the second one.
When somebody asked him if fans should prepare to see lots of that combination, Williams said, "Hopefully, if he still passes me the ball since I missed the last one.
"It was a pretty good pass and I got excited and tried to dunk it too hard. Rookie mistake, and I know he's looking at those assists and saying he could have had one more."Small ball
A frontcourt of natural power forwards -- Williams, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley -- made six three-pointers in the second quarter. That quick, undersized frontcourt will be suspect defensively, but they'll drive opposing centers and power forwards batty with their quickness and ability to spread the floor.
"It's not going to be fun," Love said of the opposition. "I wouldn't like to play us."Etc.
• The Wolves will hold a free lunchtime public scrimmage Monday at Target Center starting at noon.
• Fresh from his 21-point, 15-rebound night against the Bucks, Love blew the "Gjallarhorn" before Sunday's Vikings-New Orleans game at the Metrodome.