Williams' Team Chuck Tops Rubio's Team Shaq 146-133





Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Miami guard Norris Cole faced Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves in late December, so he had an idea on the type of passes Rubio can feed his teammates during a basketball game.

Heading into Friday’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at Amway Center in Orlando, Cole said he had a message for the Team Shaq roster.

“I told everybody be ready, because you never know when he’s going to hit you,” Cole said. “You’ve got to have your hands ready.”

Rubio showed off his elite passing ability throughout Friday’s game, racking up seven assists to go with 12 points on the night. But it was his Wolves teammate Derrick Williams’ squad that picked up the win, as Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq 146-133 to kick off the All-Star Weekend festivities.

It was a clear from the start that Rubio’s teammates needed a moment to adjust. His passes early in the first half didn’t connect with many of them bobbled by the recipient, but it didn’t take long for him to start connecting in a big way.

He sent a behind the back dish to Markeiff Morris in the first half for the jam, and he opened up the second half by dribbling through DeMarcus Cousins’ legs on a fast break before sending an alley-oop assist to Blake Griffin for one of his aggressive dunks.

“We had a lot of fun; we couldn’t win but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it,” Rubio said. “We are young, but we are doing pretty good in this league, and we’re doing great things.”

No question, Rubio impressed both in the stands and on the court with his passing.

“He’s a modern day Pistol Pete (Maravich),” Cole said. “He’s probably the best passer who was out here today. He can place the ball where no one else can. His flair for the game, it was great to watch him play and it was great to play with him today.”

But it was Team Chuck that got the victory, thanks in large part to Cleveland’s rookie point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving scored a game-high 34 points, added nine assists and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the 3-point line on the night.

His Timberwolves teammate, Williams, started for Team Chuck and played 18:33 in the game. Williams finished with two points and three rebounds, and he said the experience as a rookie helped him realize that being part of this weekend is a special part of being in the NBA.

“It’s humbling,” Williams said. “All those people watching us play around the world as well. They want to see the young stars in this league. Hopefully someday we can move up and make the real All-Star Game.”

Williams said his favorite part of the game was seeing Griffin, a fellow high flier, throw down his dunks throughout the game. Griffin is a former dunk contest champion, while Williams hopes to win the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night. He said there is a mutual respect for one another’s ability to throw down.

“We were talking back and forth—let me get this dunk and let me get this dunk,” Williams said. “Every time he has the ball, all the time he’s going to make a highlight. I was just sitting there watching, and it was still pretty amazing.”

Indiana’s Paul George had 23 points for Team Chuck, while Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Philadelphia’s Evan Turner had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Washington’s John Wall had 17 points and eight assists.

For Team Shaq, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson had 20 points, Detroit’s Greg Monroe had 19 points and 10 rebounds and New York’s Landry Fields had 16 points. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker had a game-high 10 assists.

Rubio, however, left his mark with his flair on the court—benefiting from the open style of basketball the game presented.

“I like this style,” Rubio said, adding: “Today was one of those games where you can let your creativity (show).”


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