A spectacular Ricky Rubio catapulted the Timberwolves to their fourth consecutive victory, this time against Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors, who they won 126-114, with 26 points of which 15 were the result of triples.
When criticism in Minneapolis raged more for the poor numbers of the Spanish guard in shooting, Rubio became the top scorer of his team, beating the great promise of the Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards, who had 25 points, and the star of Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT), with 22.
This season has been difficult for the Wolves and himself blond. El Masnou’s came into Thursday’s game with an average of 8.1 points, far from the 13 points he got last year, and with less than a triple per game. But against the Warriors, Rubio scored 5 of the 8 triples he tried, 2 of the 3 shots from two and 7 of his 7 free throws. In addition, Rubio did 6 assists and stole two balls.
After the game, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch applauded Rubio’s performance and defended his shooting skills. “Ricky is a good shooter when the shots come in the flow of the attack. And that’s what he did. He did a great job controlling the game and the movement of the ball. And KAT did a good job finding him when they doubled him.” Finch explained.
The other Spaniard of the Wolves, the power forward Juancho Hernangómez, had another good night that establishes his growing importance in the team. The Madrilenian scored 9 points fruit of the 3 triples that he tried. What’s more, captured 7 rebounds and 1 steal of the ball.
The top scorer of the game was Curry, with 37 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals. His teammate Andrew Wiggins had a good night, with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. But despite Curry’s final numbers, the California team point guard had an uneven night. At halftime, Curry had only scored 13 points and 2 of the 6 triples he tried, an unusual number for the Warriors star.
The key was the defense that Minnesota applied to him. But when Curry finally broke loose in the third quarter, the Warriors were able to get ahead on the scoreboard.
The first quarter was dominated by the Warriors until the end of 12 minutes. The Golden State were 7 points ahead on the scoreboard (7-14) with 6.24 remaining at the end of the period. After a Finch timeout, the second Wolves unit entered the court: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan McLaughlin, Hernangómez, Naz Reid and Jarred Vanderbilt. With 2 minutes to go, the game was tied 25-25. Hernangómez had 2 consecutive triples, put the Wolves 31-25 and started a 10-0 Minnesota run that left the score at 35-25.
The second quarter went to Golden State, bringing the score closer to 60-58 when the break came.
The Wolves returned to the track with force. Rubio made 3 triples and the Minnesota team got 13 points ahead, 79-66. But finally Curry woke up from his lethargy and in the last 4 minutes of the third quarter, the point guard scored 16 points, all his team did in that time. Curry’s rush was enough to put the Warriors ahead, 89-91, late in the third quarter.
But in the fourth quarter, Rubio’s control of the game’s pace and Edwards’s appearance tipped the balance in the Timberwolves’ favor. The 19-year-old Wolves rookie had a low-key night, with just 7 points under his belt and not attempting a single triple all night. Finch spoke to the rookie hopeful of the year and told him to be more aggressive, “wake up and start playing.” The Timberwolves’ top 10 points in the final 12 minutes came from Edwards, including two 3-pointers. By the time the game was over, Edwards had scored 8 more points to seal the Minnesota team’s fourth consecutive win, their record in this season.