Rubio saves his very best for last: The fourth quarter

It seems that just about every time the Timberwolves play, point guard Ricky Rubio does something worth noting.

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Ricky Rubio got some love from Kevin Love after drawing a foul against Houston on Saturday. Rubio had 13 points and 11 assists.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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It seems that just about every time the Timberwolves play point guard Ricky Rubio does something worth noting.

Rubio entered Saturday's game against Houston having amassed 28 assists and just two turnovers in the second half of his past five games. Against Houston, Rubio scored eight of his 13 points and got five of his 11 assists in the second half. He did commit two turnovers. Still, in his past six second halves Rubio has 33 assists and four turnovers.

Clearly, he already is a clutch performer. Late in Friday's victory at New Jersey, Rubio made play after play and then grabbed a deflected ball -- this after he'd been screened out of a play the Nets ran to get a final shot that could have tied the score.

On Friday, Rubio re-entered the game with 4:08 left in the fourth quarter and the Wolves up by eight. After the Rockets turned J.J. Barea's turnover into Kyle Lowry's driving layup, Rubio hit Kevin Love for a three-pointer and, on the next possession, drove the lane to score and push the Wolves' lead to nine.

"One thing about him is he doesn't quit," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "He got really hammered on that last play [in New Jersey], but he didn't quit. He spun off and he ends up getting the ball. He's done that so many times. That's just who he is. He's such a competitor, and he just keeps playing."

Rubio showed that again Saturday.

"If the game's on the line, he'll raise his level," Adelman said.

Rubio tied his career high with six steals in New Jersey. He got three more Saturday. It was his 13th game (out of 24) with three or more steals.

Rubio also got his 11th points/assists double-double Saturday, tied for the league lead with Deron Williams of New Jersey. Saturday also marked Rubio's 12th game with 10 or more assists. The Wolves are 9-5 when he starts.

Nothing to prove

Rubio meets with the media before nearly every road game -- a one-shot deal to satisfy so many requests for his time -- and patiently answers mostly the same questions over and over again, including the one about his suspect shooting.

"I don't want to show anybody nothing," he said Friday in New Jersey. "I know what I can do. What I'm able to do and I'm working hard to do it. People can talk about my shooting. I know I have to improve a lot, but it's in my mind. I don't need to show, to prove anybody."

Still, he is proving a few things. In his past six games Rubio is shooting 25-for-57 (44 percent) from the field. He is shooting 39 percent overall, and 35 percent on three-pointers.

The next step?

The big talker out of Saturday's game came in the third quarter, when Love stepped on the face and chest of Luis Scola on his way up the court. Videos of the event were on the Internet before the game was over. Afterward Love apologized to Scola and said it was not intentional but was the result of his stumbling as he went to run up the court.

Love should know shortly whether the NBA agrees. If Love is to be disciplined, the decision will be made before the Wolves' next game, which is Tuesday against Sacramento.

Etc.

• The Wolves are 9-5 vs. the Western Conference after going 7-45 against the West last season.

• The Wolves are 8-4 in their past 12 games, the franchise's best 12-game stretch since it opened January of 2009 with a 10-2 run.

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