Wolves slam Wizards where it hurts

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 6:41 AM

Ricky Rubio -- the eventual final piece of a 2009 deal with Washington -- starred in an in-your-face Wolves laugher.

view larger photos

  

WASHINGTON - Those relative few who remained from a sparse Sunday matinée audience at Verizon Center booed when Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio celebrated Sunday's 93-72 victory over the 0-8 Wizards by hurling the ball high into the air.

Their displeasure was directed at the still-winless home team rather than the rookie's long-standing victory tradition, although those with sharp memories might have booed Wizards management instead.

Two days before the 2009 draft, new Wolves boss David Kahn swung a deal with Washington, sending Mike Miller and Randy Foye to a Wizards team expecting to make a playoff push that next season for the draft's No. 5 pick.

That pick became Rubio, and on Sunday he paired with fellow rookie Derrick Williams and completely changed the game's complexion when they entered together late in the first quarter.

The Wolves trailed 17-13 when they subbed in for a starting lineup that moved Wes Johnson to small forward and inserted Wayne Ellington at shooting guard because Michael Beasley (sprained foot) was injured.

They led 48-34 when Rubio and Williams next left the floor at halftime.

For those keeping score at home, that was a game-changing 35-17 run in Rubio's first game against Washington point guard John Wall, the 2010 draft's No. 1 overall pick.

By the time the afternoon was over, Rubio and Williams had combined on another alley-oop, slam-dunk collaboration sure to appear on "SportsCenter."

Both finished tied for a team-best plus-29 on the plus-minus ratings -- if you believe in that statistic -- and their play together made another 20-point, 16-rebound game by Kevin Love seem like something of an afterthought.

"We've developed a good chemistry together, since the first day of practice," said Williams, who played his entire 30 minutes, 27 seconds Sunday beside Rubio. "I think he knew of me, but I don't think he knew I could really jump. After the first lob we connected on in practice, I just told him, 'Man, throw it up there, I'm going to catch it.' I rarely missed alley-oops.

"He has a good basketball IQ. He's going to find you."

They combined Sunday for more than just another highlight-reel dunk: Williams stretched the Wizards defense by scoring 12 of his 14 points off the bench on four three-point shots.

Rubio assisted him on all four.

"Yeah, I forgot about those," Williams said.

Rubio contributed 13 points, 14 assists and six rebounds, while Wall made three of 10 shots (two of those three were dunks) and had 10 points, six assists and five rebounds as a starter. Rubio's 14 assists were his third double-digit assists total in eight NBA games, and they helped the Wolves answer with their first road victory after disappointing losses to Memphis and Cleveland at home.

Afterward, Wolves coach Rick Adelman was asked when Rubio -- who has started the season by playing every second of every fourth quarter -- was going to be promoted to starter.

"I get real tired of answering that," he said. "He's doing just fine."

Fine enough that one Verizon Center press room wag commented on how Rubio, at first glance, makes his teammates better while Wall doesn't. The Wolves, by the way, have seven players on their roster who were top-six lottery picks. The Wizards' only other player chosen that high is last summer's No. 6 pick, Jan Vesely.

"If it had been Rubio, who knows, John Wall might not have been here," Washington coach Flip Saunders said, referring to that 2009 trade the Wizards hoped would bolster a team that at the time included Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. "There were a lot of things that went into the whole equation."

Rubio said Sunday he is happy where he is.

"I don't know, Minnesota was the team that drafted me and I don't think anything else," Rubio said. "They were the ones who trusted me and I'm so glad they did."

  • related content

  • Ball movement picks up as Beasley sits out

    Sunday January 8, 2012

    Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman emerged after Sunday's 93-72 victory ended their two-game losing streak and remarked how the ball moved better offensively against the Wizards that afternoon than it had...

  • Hartman: Rubio and Williams emerge vs. Wizards

    Monday January 9, 2012

    The two rookies, with help from the remarkable Kevin Love, gave the Wolves a rare victory on the road.

  • Wolves-Washington game recap

    Sunday January 8, 2012

    Tough choice because both Rubio and Derrick Williams changed the game when they entered late in the first quarter. But let's go with Rubio's 13-point, 14-assist, six-rebound performance.

  • Wolves-Toronto game preview

    Sunday January 8, 2012

    Preview: This is the second of three games in as many days for the Wolves, the first of two times they will play back-to-back-to-back in this lockout-shortened season. They finish...

  • Rand: Love, Rubio and more; trades well-played

    Monday January 9, 2012

    Five of the best trades by local teams in recent years.

  • Was Love kidding about Beasley?

    Monday January 9, 2012

    What was the difference Sunday: "Um, Mike being out?" Kevin Love says. "Just kidding."

  • Ricky Rubio

  • WOLVES 93, WASHINGTON 72 • Up next: 6 p.m. today at Toronto • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close