Rubio's 24 Points, Wolves' 17 Steals Lift Minnesota Past Suns 105-93

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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After three quarters that were largely back-and-forth, the Wolves used a career scoring night from Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea’s hot shooting in the fourth to run away with a 105-93 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

“It was great,” Barea said of the final quarter. “We needed a little push at the end to get us over the top. We did a great job. We knocked some shots down, and it was great for us.”

Minnesota went on a 7-2 run in the fourth quarter—with Barea scoring every point—to build a solid lead. A pair of long jumpers from Rubio brought the lead as high as 13, and the Suns could never recover.

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Wolves vs. Suns

“Yeah, I’m working (on it),” Rubio said of his long-range shooting. “I mean it’s something that I have to work on and I know it, and I’m going to do it. I’m not going to stop working. It takes time.”

The Wolves did a great job of capitalizing off the Suns’ miscues, turning 28 turnovers into 33 points. Six Minnesota players had two or more steals, and the 17 team steals tie a franchise record that dates back to 2000.

“We were active,” Barea said. “They did a bad job of throwing the ball all over the place, too. A little bit of both... it worked out for us tonight.”

Luis Scola started at center again with Marcin Gortat sidelined due to injury. The big man scored 14 and grabbed nine boards, but he also turned the ball over eight times by himself. Goran Dragic also turned in a strong effort (10 points, 14 rebounds) and former Minnesota player Wes Johnson scored 15.

Rubio, known more for his passing and basketball IQ than scoring ability, scored a career-high 24 points. He also tallied 10 assists, five rebounds and five rebounds, becoming just the fourth player all year to hit those marks in a single game.

He also showed how his offensive game continues to expand, shooting a season-high 18 shots from the field. As he becomes more and more comfortable on the NBA floor, Rubio has been trying more long jumpshots—and he saw success tonight.

“They were leaving me alone,” Rubio said of his shooting selection. “At the beginning, I was trying to play for the team, but at one point I was feeling like I had to shoot the ball... Without Pek, Without Kevin (Love), there are shots to take, and I’m going to take them.”

Barea had 16 points for the Wolves off the bench, complemented by 15 from Derrick Williams and 14 from Andrei Kirilenko.

Postgame: Rubio With Alan Horton

Leader of the Pack: Ricky Rubio

Although Barea is a strong candidate for this award with a 7-for-9 shooting performance, Rubio became just the fourth player this year to record a 20+ point/10+ assist/5+ steal/5+ rebound game. As far as the Wolves franchise, he became just the fourth player all-time to accomplish this statistical line. His 24 points were a career high.

Play of the Game

In the middle of his seven-point scoring run, J.J. Barea came around a pick and found a driving lane on the right side. He drove in but went up-and-under to the left side, where he applied spin on the ball and got the bucket.

Numbers Game

  • Tonight's win is the Wolves' 30th of the season, marking their first 30-win campaign since they won 32 games in the 2006-07 season. The win is also the Wolves' 20th at home this season, equaling their total from the 2006-07 season.

  • Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 10 assists, five rebounds and five assists for his 7th 4x5 game of the season, tying him with LeBron James (2004-05) and Chris Paul (2008-09) for the most in a single season over the last 15 years.

  • The Wolves scored 100 points for the 11th time in their last 20 games (14 100-point outings in previous 60 games).
  • The Wolves forced 28 turnovers, tying an opponent high. The Wolves have now forced more turnovers than their opponent in 23 of the last 29 games (three ties).

  • Quotable

    "Yeah, even Kevin Durant or Kobe miss shots. Why I can’t miss shots, you know?"—Wolves guard Ricky Rubio on his shooting slump over the past week

    Next Up

    The Wolves play their final home game of the season Monday against Utah before heading to San Antonio Wednesday to close out the year.

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