Rubio bringing out the best of Williams and asking for more

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 10:52 PM
hide

The Lakers defense knocked the ball away from the Wolves' Derrick Williams.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

As Ricky Rubio's game has returned to form he has helped Derrick Williams return to relevance.

It was obvious again in the Timberwolves' loss to the New York Knicks on Friday at Target Center, almost from the start. When Williams plays with Rubio, he is a different guy. Williams finished second on the team with 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting. And that includes an 8-for-11 performance on two-point shots. Of those eight baskets, five had assists, and four of them came from Rubio.

All of them involved Williams either running the floor hard or working hard to get into position for the pass.

"I think the idea in his mind is that he'll be rewarded," said assistant coach Shawn Respert, whose job description this season has included working 1-on-1 with Williams. "So he will make an extra effort at times, versus being reluctant, in his own mind, with a guy who might not have the ability get him the ball."

That, of course, has to change. It's a message that Respert, coach Rick Adelman and, more recently, Rubio have been trying to drive home.

"He's one of our top scorers on the team when he's playing hard," Rubio said. "And he has to learn that he has to play hard every game. He's working to be that player."

Williams is coming off one of his most productive two-game stretches of the season. He scored 15 points with a career-high 12 rebounds against San Antonio on Wednesday. Of his five baskets -- including a three-pointer early in the game an alley-oop dunk -- four came courtesy of Rubio assists.

Rubio has assisted on eight of Williams' 13 baskets the past two games, including another alley-oop Friday.

"I thing we complement each other," Williams said. "We're out there having fun with each other. Being out there with a pass-first point guard makes things so much easier. He's going to look for you. That's really what he does. He's been doing that his whole life, finding guys in positions to be successful. We have a chemistry on the court."

The injury-ravaged Wolves have been waiting for Williams -- the second overall pick in the 2011 draft -- to rise to the challenge with Kevin Love out. And it has been a frustrating, stop-and-start process. Williams has looked very good at times, but has disappeared at times as well.

There is no question his chemistry with Rubio is bringing out his best. Now his job will be to keep that effort level up no matter who he is playing with.

"Ricky has an instinct to know what to do with each player to make him feel a little more comfortable," Adelman said. "But our guys have to figure out a way to work hard to matter what. You saw the game Derrick had [Friday] night. But that has to happen every night for us."

That will be Williams' challenge going forward.

"He has been playing confident the last couple games," Rubio said of Williams. "And I like it. He's playing more aggressive. He can do a lot of things, but he has to believe in himself. He is one of the keys to this team. He has to believe in that."

Etc.

• Forward Andrei Kirilenko (quadriceps bruise) did not make the trip to Memphis and won't play on the two-game road trip. There is a chance he could return for Wednesday's home game with Utah, but Adelman said Kirilenko might not play again until after the All-Star break.

• Guard J.J. Barea sprained his left foot in the second quarter Friday but returned to the game. He was stiff and sore Saturday. He went with the team to Memphis but will be a game-time decision for Sunday's 5 p.m. game.

  • related content

  • FRIDAY'S WOLVES RECAP

    Saturday February 9, 2013

    The Knicks' star forward scored 12 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Knicks rally from an 11-point deficit to a six-point win.

  • Preview: Wolves at Memphis

    Saturday February 9, 2013

    Preview: The Grizzlies still are trying to find a rhythm after the team remade its roster with two trades. The first came on Jan. 22 when Marresse Speights, Wayne Ellington,...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston - D. Keuchel 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Cleveland - C. Kluber 12:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - D. Price 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Arizona - W. Miley 3:05 PM
Washington - G. Gonzalez
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0 Suspended
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Boston - R. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
San Diego - T. Ross 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
Indiana
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Minnesota

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How closely will you follow the Lynx in the WNBA playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close