INDIANAPOLIS – One night after he delivered his first career triple-double with a tireless 21-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist game, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio slowly limped across the locker room on a banged knee and taped ankle before Wednesday’s 107-91 loss at Indiana.
Is there such a thing as a guy playing too hard?
It’s not as silly a question as it seems to anyone who watched Rubio play himself to exhaustion in Tuesday’s shocking 24-point victory over San Antonio or watched him throw himself on the floor with his team leading big in the final minutes.
“I kind of worry about him somewhat, the way he throws himself around,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “You can’t stop a guy from playing if he plays that hard. I can’t play him 36, 37 minutes; he’s got to get a break.”
So Adelman only played him nearly 35 minutes Wednesday when Rubio once again tried to carry a team missing Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, etc., etc.
“His activity was incredible,” Adelman said of a Tuesday performance that Rubio followed with a 21-point, 10-assist, six-rebound, three-steal game against the Pacers. “I really believed he just willed us. He’s playing with a whole lot of energy. I don’t know much longer he can keep that up. We need to get other people so we can give him some relief.”
The Wolves won’t get Kevin Love back for at least another two or three weeks, and they continued to play on without Pekovic and Kirilenko, both of whom did not make the trip on a two-game stretch that ends Friday in Houston.
While Love must wait to have his broken hand evaluated again, Budinger has worked out 1-on-1 with development coach Shawn Respert for two consecutive days after getting clearance from his knee surgeon to begin contact play.
“I feel good, got to get back in shape,” an out-of-breath Budinger said after coming back from a pregame workout. “It gets sore after I do that [contact workouts]. That’s why I have time, another week or two weeks, before I get out and play. I’ve got to get through a 5-on-5 practice and see how that goes before I can even know where playing comes in.”
That’s 993, and counting…
Tuesday’s victory over the Spurs was Adelman’s 993rd career victory.
He’s seven victories away from becoming the eighth coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 victories, for those keeping score at home.
“It has been a long season, I haven’t even thought about that,” Adelman said. “I don’t think about it at all. If it happens, it happens. That’s something that with this season I really haven’t thought it, to tell you the truth.”
On the road again
Budinger is back on the road, accompanying his teammates on this trip that takes him back to Houston for Friday’s game even though he’s a week or two away from playing for the first time since November.
“It feels great to be traveling again,” he said. “I feel I’m part of the team again. I’m stuck in Minnesota.”
Rubio’s triple-double Tuesday was his first as a pro, but he had three playing for Spanish national youth teams, including a quadruple double and a under-16 European championship title game against Russia in which he had 51 points, 24 rebounds and 12 assists.
“You never know,” teammate Luke Ridnour said of Rubio delivering an NBA quadruple double. “He could do it.”
• Rubio’s triple-double against the Spurs was the Wolves’ first since J.J. Barea’s 25-point, 10-rebound, 14-assist game in a double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City last March.
• Pacers former All-Star forward Danny Granger remained out Wednesday because of a sore left knee after playing only five games so far this season. He will receive treatment and be evaluated at the end of the week.
• Indiana University’s Tom Crean — coach of the Big Ten champion Hoosiers — attended the game.