Big OT Lifts Wolves Past Mavericks 114-106

Lindsey LaBelle
Web Editorial Associate


The crowd at Target Center would all agree it was worth the wait.

Ricky Rubio’s return helped propel the Wolves to a 114-106 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, starting the extra frame on a 10-0 run and never looking back to win their fourth consecutive game and sixth in seven contests.

“I give our guys all the credit in the world,” coach Rick Adelman said. “They just keep playing; doesn’t matter who’s out, who’s not in, who’s playing, we compete. I think that’s what won us the game tonight.”

After nine months off, fans had plenty of expectations for Rubio in this game, but Wolves players and coaches have said all along that his court vision never faltered.

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Wolves vs Mavericks

He proved himself a catalyst with his first field goal in the second quarter, then dropped a pass between his legs and around Elton Brand to hit center Greg Stiemsma under the hoop.

“I told him, ‘You don’t have to do everything in the first game’,” Adelman said of Rubio’s pass. “You can save things for later – he was making everything happen. I think he might have been able to just pass that easily, but that’s Ricky.”

Then, Alexey Shved hit a 3-pointer to start building the Wolves’ comeback after trailing most of the first quarter and a chunk of the second. Shved stepped up where it counted and made a crucial 3-pointer to bring the Wolves ahead 40-39. Shved ended up 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 6-of-9 in the last two nights.

The Wolves ended the first half with a 17-6 run and a 54-45 lead, holding the Mavericks to just 13 points in the second quarter.

Derrick Williams had to step up in Love’s absence and he gave the Wolves a lift in the second quarter, Adelman said.

“With Kevin out, you’ve got to be aggressive,” Williams said. “That man puts up a lot of numbers, and we’ve got to be able to match that with myself and [Dante Cunningham] playing the 4. I thought we did that tonight.”

Williams grabbed six rebounds and 16 points on the night, and hit his seventh double-digit scoring effort of the season.

Dallas started chipping away at the Wolves lead late in the fourth quarter. Luke Ridnour hit a three to bring the lead 93-85. But as the clock ran down, the Mavericks cut the lead to just one point with 2:50 remaining with a 3-pointer by Derek Fisher. This Dallas team missed all 13 attempts from behind the arc the previous night in a loss to the Raptors, ending a 1,108-game streak with a made 3-pointer.

Fisher fouled out with 1:41 left in the game while Rubio made both free throws to tie the game. Ricky then hit Pek under the basket after a jump ball with 49.6 remaining to tie the game 102-102. The Wolves had several good looks in the last 34 seconds but after a series of tips, nothing fell by the end of regulation. They played better in overtime, Rubio said.

“I love this game,” he said. “I love playing basketball and I’m never going to forget how to play.”

Leader of the Pack: Ricky Rubio

It goes without saying that the return of Rubio will bring great things to this Wolves team, but the minute Ricky stepped onto the court late in the first quarter it was obvious that he was back. He finished with eight points, nine assists, three steals and four rebounds in 18 minutes in his first game back.

“Just because of his talent level, but who he is. Our guys watched him work, they watched him get ready for this game,” Adelman said. “He just rubs off.”

Highlight of the Night

Pekovic looked like he had a game-tying layup but was called for a jump ball. He won the jump as the Wolves trailed the Mavericks by two. Rubio chased down the ball and found Pek in the paint to tie the game at 102 with 49.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Numbers Game

  • The Wolves registered 12 steals through three quarters – their season high is 13. Minnesota came in averaging 11.0 steals per game over their last four games.

  • Dante Cunningham made his first start of the season in place of Kevin Love, making it the 10th different starting lineup used by Adelman this season.

  • In three quarters, Derrick Williams had 12 points (all in the first half) and five rebounds. Saturday was his 7th double-digit scoring effort of the season, 2nd in his last seven games.

  • Quote of the Night

    “It’s great. I can’t say with words how it feels,” Rubio said of the crowd’s reverberating noise. “It gives you extra motivation to play here. I love it, and I’m so proud to be playing for this team in front of this crowd."

    Next Up

    The Wolves will travel south to play back-to-back games in Florida: They’ll take on the Orlando Magic on Monday and the Miami Heat on Tuesday. After that, they’ll return home to play Oklahoma City on Thursday at the Target Center.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at