Ricky Rubio electrified Target Center Friday night with his first career double-double, but the Minnesota Timberwolves fell short against the Miami Heat by losing 101-103. Rubio shreaded the Heat defense by constantly finding the open man, and shocked everyone with several no-look alley-oop passes. The Timberwolves have now played arguably the NBA’s Top 2 teams in the first week, and have been within one basket of beating them both. Chants of “Rubio-Rubio” echoed throughout the arena in both halves after Rubio got on a roll with his crafty passing and somewhat surprising scoring. Rubio hit two 3-pointers in the game, and looked very calm doing so. Lebron James and crew were just a little too much though (with a little boost from the pathetic officiating). Lebron complimented his near triple double with some “slam dunk contest worthy” slams in the open court. Apparently it was his birthday (they talked about it every time he scored), and Lebron went off again.
Let’s take another look at some Good/Bad from Game 3 of the Timberwolves 66-game season:
BAD: The FSN game crew. I really dislike Anthony Lapanta, but I would welcome back with open arms compared to this new guy. At one point said the Heat players wanted to see Rubio have a good game, but also said several outlandish and ridiculous comments throughout the night. He belongs radio announcing for a high school team in Canada. Kevin Lynch kept talking about himself like he matters, and he’s got no cred! The solution: Anyone else miss the Chad Hartman / Trent Tucker duo?
GOOD: Ricky! You got the Target Center chanting your name in the 3rd game of the season…..instant legend! Only time will tell where he will rank amongst the all-time great passers.
GOOD: Wayne Ellington providing a little life at the 2-guard spot. It’s time to start declaring Wes Johnson a disappointment. He doesn’t stand out in any way, and does not make things happen on his own. Most average NBA players at his position could do what he does.
BAD: Beasley. To sit the last quarter-and-a half it’s a bad sign. You are a ball-stopper and a weakness on defense. The only way he scores a lot is when he takes a high volume of shots. He’s not an efficient player at this point. Good for head coach Rick Adelman in playing the guys that are playing now rather than giving Beasley too much of a leash.
GOOD: Kevin Love’s consistency. He’s going to be an All-Star again this year, and this time there is no question. Very comforting for Timberwolves fans.
BAD: Darko. Thanks for lumbering around the court, and being a second-and-a half late in reacting to practically…..everything!
GOOD: Anthony Randoph! He got the time (like I’ve been begging for), and gave back some production. It’s clear he can provide some low post scoring and atheletism that not too many on this roster can do. It looks like he will see the playing time when there are other long-lanky forwards on the opposing team. Hopefully, he can prove he belongs out there no matter what. The matchup with Dallas tomorrow night should prove favorable for Randolph.
BAD: Lebron’s neck beard.
BAD: Lebron’s headband hairline cover-up.
GOOD: Target Center. 1st 2-game in a row sellout since the 2003-04 season, and first opening 2-game sellout since 1991. The atmosphere is electric, and it pretty much has a lot to do with the arrival of Ricky and his dazzling passing and ball-handling display.
BAD: Turnovers. Timberwolves had 25 turnovers, again way too high of a number. It’s surprising they were in the game at the end. If this area improves, the Timberwolves will have solved one of their biggest weaknesses and the results will show it.
The Timberwolves play the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night as they go for their first win. No word yet on if J.J. Barea’s hamstring will be ready for the matchup with his old ‘mates. One thing is official…..my Rubio t-shirt has been ordered! Happy New Year Wolves fans!