Rubio to Bryant: Spain will take gold in Olympics

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2012 - 11:53 PM

The Wolves guard was talking a little smack.

Houston's Kevin Martin got past Ricky Rubio.

Photo: Pat Sullivan, Associated Press - Ap

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HOUSTON - Sunday's Timberwolves-Lakers game was long over when there was a neat moment captured on video.

Wolves guard Ricky Rubio was in the hallway at Target Center talking to Lakers forward Pau Gasol, his fellow Spaniard and good friend. Kobe Bryant came out of the Lakers dressing room.

"You talking about London?" Bryant asked, referring to the Olympics later this year.

"Oh, yeah," Gasol replied.

Rubio asked Bryant if he would be there with Team USA. Bryant said yes, so then the Wolves rookie made a prediction: "You know you're getting the silver medal," Rubio said. "You know that."

Meaning, of course, that Spain would win the gold. A brash statement? Perhaps. But not outlandish: Spain won the 2006 title at the World Basketball Championships. In the 2008 Beijing Games, Rubio and Gasol were part of a team that lost 118-107 to the Americans in the final.

"I'm taking bets," Bryant responded. "If I win, I get the keys to Barcelona."

Responded Rubio: "I bet what you want."

Bryant: "I'll take it."

All good-natured trash-talking, of course.

"We'll see what's going to happen," Rubio said Monday. "It's going to be good. I mean, we have pretty good players. We'll be a pretty good team."

There is a good chance Wolves forward Kevin Love will be on the U.S. team. He already has promised to put Rubio on his behind should he come down the lane on him in England.

"I've been told by a few people not to get too friendly with him," Love said.

Adelman: What phone calls?

Rick Adelman's return to Houston on Monday was a bit more quotable than Kevin McHale's return to Minnesota was a week earlier.

Surrounded by the media before the game, Adelman took the opportunity to take issue with something he had read. When McHale was hired to coach the Rockets, a column appeared in the Houston Chronicle suggesting that Adelman -- as well as his predecessor as Rockets coach, Jeff Van Gundy -- kept team owner Leslie Alexander at arm's length. Specifically, the column suggested Alexander called his coach three or four times a year but that the coach didn't pick up.

"You know, I'm still waiting for that phone call he said he made to me every year," Adelman said. "I never got one, unless he was calling another Rick. I didn't think anything of it until I saw all this stuff about how I never listened to him. It was kind of a joke."

He wasn't done. "[Alexander] said he used to call me three or four times a year. It never happened. ... I chose not to accept the extension they offered me. I always thought the operation was Daryl [Morey, Rockets GM] and Les talking and then when I met with Les it was Daryl, Les and I. I'm not real smart, but I'm going to listen to my boss. That kind of turned me the wrong way."

That said, Adelman took pains to say how much he enjoyed his four years with the Rockets.

“It was a great place to work, and I had a lot of fun,” he said. “Hopefully we can recreate it in Minnesota, that same atmosphere.”

Barea, Milicic out again

Guard J.J. Barea (hamstring) did not play. Neither did center Darko Milicic, who missed another game due to illness. He did not make the trip.


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