Rubio Sits Courtside For Lynx Game 1 Win
Rubio Sits Courtside In Lynx Game 1 Win
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Wolves guard Ricky Rubio sat courtside on Sunday night at Game 1 of the WNBA Finals cheering on the Minnesota Lynx as they picked up a 84-59 victory over the Atlanta Dream. And he wasn’t alone. A collection of Wolves players were on hand for the game, most visibly center Ronny Turiaf and rookie Gorgui Dieng.
But Rubio was front and center as he was last year during the Lynx’s playoff run. He got some time on the big screen and a little ESPN love during a second half interview.
The Wolves and Lynx cross paths inside Target Center and at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center each October as preseason games and postseason hoops intersect. This is a particularly hectic three-day stretch as the Lynx host Games 1 and 2 on Sunday and Tuesday night, sandwiching the Wolves’ preseason opener against CSKA Moscow on Monday evening.
Rubio, along with teammate Kevin Love, continued to show their support for the Lynx by purchasing 500 upper level tickets to Game 2. At 8 a.m. on Monday, fans had the chance to call in and claim a pair of Love and Rubio's tickets.
For Rubio, the energy inside the arena was electric. It’s something he’s excited to feel again for the Wolves this season.
“The atmosphere here is great,” Rubio told Timberwolves.com. “I hope to have the same one during the season because we’re winning, and hopefully we’ll get to the playoffs and we’ll have a crowd like that, too.”
Rubio said after practice on Sunday afternoon, the Wolves got together and discussed coming to the game to show their support. A big part of that is because the Lynx have put on quite a show this year, and taking in some of the action up close is a nice way to spend an evening as a basketball fan.
“We love basketball, and we share time with the Lynx on the way to the locker room and all that stuff, and we’re excited to be part of it,” Rubio said.
The Spanish point guard, now entering his third NBA season, is no stranger to creating buzz inside Target Center through his flashy play and head-scratching passes. On Sunday, he got to sit up close and watch another point guard who has made a name for herself and won the hearts of Minnesota fans. Lindsay Whalen, the Hutchinson native and University of Minnesota product, dazzled along with the rest of her teammates on Sunday night.
Whalen is a special point guard. Of the 11 teams in WNBA history who have won 26 games or more during a season, Whalen has been the starting point guard on five of them. She led the way with her energy and handling of the offense on Sunday night.
“She’s doing great,” Rubio said. “She has great scorers to get the ball, and she’s attacking the rim very well, too. And she’s smart. She knows how to play and knows how to control the tempo of the game.”
Whalen said as a point guard, one of her main jobs is to do just that. She focuses on making sure she can control the tempo for the Lynx, get them into the right sets and make plays. Her admiration for Rubio’s game is mutual, too.
“It’s cool, I mean I obviously love watching him play. He’s one of my favorite players to watch,” Whalen said. “So you know, you can learn something from other point guards in the NBA, too, from the guys, because they just do thing so smooth and so effectively. And I feel like that’s one of my main jobs is to control tempo, control the floor. I feel like if nothing else, get us into some good sets and make plays.”
Whalen is just part of the equation. Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus exploded once again offensively for 23 and 19 points, respectively. And Monica Wright provided the spark off the bench by adding 20 points of her own.
It was enough to impress the Wolves’ standout point guard sitting up close near the south baseline.
“They’re playing aggressive,” Rubio said. “They’re scoring well. They’re fun to watch, because the game is awesome and they have really good players.”