His shooting woes have been well documented as of late, but Ricky Rubio put in an all-around great effort Tuesday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Utah Jazz by a score of 112-97. Rubio was arguably the Timberwolves’ player of the game as he totaled 11 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and five steals.
Kevin Love was just two assists shy of his first career triple-double, but Rubio’s defense and rarely seen offensive efficiency makes him the Wolves’ game MVP. Rubio finished shooting 3-for-5 from the field but was 1-for-2 from three-point range and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. While he must string together a few more of these efficient shooting games to turn around his image, Rubio very well could be on the right track as his shot selection was better than usual, and he was actually making open shots.
Rubio’s unselfish style of play allowed the Wolves to put in an all-around great effort which is a big reason why they maintained their lead and finished with a 15-point victory. The Timberwolves have been the best first quarter scoring team in the league this season, but recently they’ve given games away late with the common theme being Rubio sitting on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.
That didn’t happen Tuesday night, however, as the Jazz attempted a comeback by scoring 35 points in the fourth quarter but Rubio’s consistent play from start to finish allowed the Wolves to stave off that attempt. Another overlooked matchup in the game was Rubio against Trey Burke which was a battle that Rubio clearly won as he held the rookie to 40 percent shooting and just five assists.
The Timberwolves are now just a game under .500 but have a rather difficult schedule ahead. Rubio will first have the task of containing Stephen Curry Friday night before going up against the emerging Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers the following night. This will be a tough weekend for the Wolves, but if Rubio keeps playing at a high level they very well could turn some heads and beat two of the premier Western Conference teams.