Rubio Dazzles In Debut


Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves rookie guard Ricky Rubio might not have started in his long-awaited NBA debut on Monday, but he certainly had an impact on the finish.

Rubio dazzled in Minnesota's 104-100 loss to Oklahoma City on Monday, displaying first-hand the no-look passes and fast-break quickness that prompted the Wolves to take him fifth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.

"It was amazing," Rubio said of making his Minnesota debut.

His vision on the floor helped prompt Minnesota's near comeback against the Thunder, leading rushes up the court and connecting with fellow rookie Derrick Williams for electrifying dunks that kept Target Center's sellout crowd on its feet.

"He looked comfortable, and we had him in there down the stretch," forward Kevin Love said. "He made a few great plays, effective plays, he was running the offense, so we're happy with where he's at."

Rubio played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter after seeing limited time in the first three. He finished having played 26:18 and scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter. He added six assists and five rebounds on the night.

Playing against Oklahoma City guards Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor, Rubio took his lumps defensively—Westbrook had 28 in the game—but also showed the ability to find the open man. The result was a fourth quarter full of highlight reel material and a fluid offensive performance to end the game.

Maynor said Rubio showed you've got to get back in transition when you guard him. Westbrook agreed.

"I mean he repped his team," Westbrook said. "He just didn't get the win."

Is this a sign of things to come? Forward Michael Beasley said Rubio was simply playing his game.

"He looked comfortable out there," Beasley said. "He finally got his chance to play in front of our hometown fans in a real game, and we just expect good things out of him."

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