Shootaround report: Mavs not overlooking Rubio, short-handed Wolves squad
Shootaround: Timberwolves (16-18) at Mavericks (15-23)
Mavs not overlooking Rubio, short-handed Wolves squad
The pass-first floor general made his season debut against the Mavericks in Minnesota's 114-106 overtime home win on Dec. 15, leading the Timberwolves to the victory while totaling eight points, dishing out nine assists and grabbing four rebounds in 18 minutes of action. And it’s Rubio’s ability to control the game that gives the Mavericks the most concern as they hope to send the Wolves back home with an 0-4 road trip while tying a season-best three-game winning streak.
“He’s a great player. Rubio is a great player and he’s proven it now,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the second-year guard. “He had a big impact on the game the last time we played them, even though that was his first game back. So we’re very aware of him.”
Rubio will be the center of attention for the Dallas defense while the Mavericks try to take advantage of a Kevin Love-less Minnesota team by avenging that December loss and a 90-82 home defeat on Nov. 12. Meanwhile, Minnesota is also expected to be without coach Rick Adelman for the fifth straight game while attending to his ailing and hospitalized wife.
And after catching the Memphis Grizzlies on the second night of a back-to-back and cruising to a 104-83 win to begin their four-game homestand Saturday night, the Mavs will try to repeat that success by not overlooking the struggling Timberwolves following Minnesota’s 106-88 defeat in San Antonio on Sunday.
“Regardless of who they have out, they always find ways to win the game,” point guard Darren Collison said of the short-handed Minnesota squad. “You know, they got us here the last time on our home court without Kevin Love and without Rubio, and they managed to pull a W off. It’s going to be the same scenario. You know, they don’t have Kevin Love on their team, but they’re still a very good team.”
“We’ve got to look to attack regardless,” Carlisle said. “The fact that these guys played last night, you know, on paper looks like an advantage. You never know, but we’ve got to play our game. We’ve got to be aggressive, got to push the tempo while being efficient with the ball. I think that’s really important. And then with Minnesota, rebounding is key. They come up with a lot of second shots. They’ve got guys with length. [Andrei] Kirilenko has got a knack for keeping balls alive. And then we’ve got to keep them off the free throw line. And if we do those things, it puts us in a much better position.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action at the American Airlines Center for the second outing of a four-game homestand Monday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves lead the season series 2-0 after two games at home. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.