Playmaker Rubio emerging as a scoring threat for Wolves

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 1, 2013 - 7:55 AM
hide

Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio's knee has recovered to the point that he can handle physical play, as he did Saturday night in his matchup with Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley at Target Center.

Photo: KYNDELL HARKNESS, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio continues to show signs of being a significant scoring threat after struggling with his shot in the weeks following his return from knee surgery.

In Saturday night’s 99-86 loss to Memphis, Rubio went 6-for-12 from the field and hit one of his two three-point shots on the way to a career-high 23 points. He also had 10 rebounds, nine assists and a steal, coming one assist away from his second career triple-double.

Rubio has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games, averaging 15.1 points in that stretch.

Perhaps more importantly, he has been efficient doing so, shooting 43.8 percent from the field in that time, and has hit four of nine three-point shots.

“One thing he has to be able to do is hit the open threes,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He has to knock those down.’’

The midrange jump shot is important, too, particularly because of the way opponents are playing the Wolves on pick-and-roll plays. If Rubio can consistently hit the jumpers teams are giving him, it will free up teammates for more open shots.

That said, Saturday’s performance showed yet again how far Rubio has come since his return to action Dec. 15. He has not yet qualified for the official league leaderboards. But, among point guards, Rubio’s 2.3 steals per game would place him third, his 7.3 assists would place him ninth and his four rebounds would place him fifth.

“He has come a long way,” Adelman said. “I’d like to see him finish the season out where he continues to progress and continue on from there. He’s got his confidence back in his knee, and he’s getting back to doing the things he was doing last year.”

Sudden impact

Perhaps an indication of how quickly Chase Budinger has become an important part of the Wolves’ rotation was the way the offense struggled so much Saturday with him shooting poorly (1-for-6).

Adelman has said many times since Budinger’s return seven games ago how the threat of Budinger’s outside shot has helped the spacing of the Wolves offense when he’s on the floor.

“He really helps us,” Adelman said. “He spaces the court. People are aware of him. It’s just like when Kevin [Love] came back briefly. He didn’t shoot it very well, but they weren’t leaving him. Chase gives us that. He gives us good ball movement. He’s another guy you want to see finish the season on a positive note, get himself ready for next year.”

But Saturday, playing in his seventh game in 10 days after coming back from knee surgery, Budinger struggled. He failed to connect on either of his three-point attempts among his five misses.

His knee is still not 100 percent, but Budinger said it was soreness in other parts of his body that was hampering him, including his back and hamstrings.

“I’m only [seven] games in,” he said Saturday. “My hamstrings were on fire tonight. Every time I tried to do something it felt like I was going to pull one.”

Etc.

• Forward Dante Cunningham said his right hand — which he injured during Friday’s game against Oklahoma City — wasn’t a problem and didn’t affect his shot. Still, his 2-for-8 performance Saturday against Memphis marked the first time in seven games he hadn’t shot 40 percent or better.

• Adelman said midseason acquisitions Mickael Gelabale and Chris Johnson have shown enough that they are candidates to be on the team next season, especially if they work on their games during the offseason. “This summer will be big for them,” Adelman said. “We like them both.”

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Wolves-Boston

    Monday April 1, 2013

    7 P.M. VS. Boston • Target Center • Ch. 29, 830-AMPreview: The Timberwolves have split their past six games, and...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Denver 7:00 PM
Memphis
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:30 PM
Toronto
Dallas 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Florida
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 5:00 PM
Rutgers
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Army
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Furman
Saint Louis 6:00 PM
George Mason
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
High Point 6:00 PM
Liberty
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Long Island
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Dayton 6:00 PM
Massachusetts
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Maryland 6:00 PM
Ohio State
FIU 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bryant 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Stetson
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Towson
Western Carolina 6:00 PM
Va Military
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Wagner
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
North Florida
Appalachian St 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Holy Cross 6:30 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Eastern Ill 6:30 PM
UT Martin
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Cincinnati
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 24 2nd Half
Georgia Southern 30
Niagara 20 2nd Half
Saint Peters 17
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
FIU
Southern Miss 5:00 PM
Marshall
Georgia State 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 5:15 PM
Troy
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
(17) Duke
(6) Tennessee 6:00 PM
(10) Kentucky
(24) Oklahoma 6:00 PM
(14) Texas
Nebraska Omaha 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
UC-Riverside 6:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Army 6:00 PM
Boston U
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Towson 6:00 PM
Delaware
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Northeastern
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Clemson 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
(23) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(8) Louisville
Missouri 6:00 PM
Florida
Iona 6:00 PM
Fairfield
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Marist
NC State 6:00 PM
Virginia
(4) Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(22) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Purdue
(5) Maryland 6:00 PM
Michigan
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Florida 6:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Stetson 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Loyola-Maryland 6:05 PM
Holy Cross
Lamar 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Fla Gulf Coast 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
UAB
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close