Wolves Wrap: Rubio carries Wolves to 90-89 win over the Grizzlies


211. 90. 86. Final. 89

As expected, the Wolves stayed in tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies for the entirety of the contest, even leading for large stretches before succumbing to David Joerger’s veteran, grind-it-out squad in the fourth quarter.

But then things got weird. Ricky Rubio happened. And I mean really, really happened.

With about six minutes left in the game and the Grizzlies leading by two points, Rubio tweaked his injured left ankle on a layup and sprinted the locker room, causing all Wolves fans to curse and hold their breath simultaneously.

He missed just over a minute of game time before returning to Willis Reed/Aaron Rodgers-like cheers. The Wolves fell behind by as many as seven points on a Marc Gasol layup with 3:12 showing on the clock. Rubio immediately short-armed a layup and the Grizzlies could have extended the lead to nine or ten points but couldn’t, and the Wolves were still in the game.

And sure enough, down four with under a minute to play, Andrew Wiggins missed a jumper, Thaddeus Young chased down the rebound, and Rubio dribbled to an open spot along the break on the right side of the floor and drilled a three-pointer to pull the Wolves to within one point with 34 seconds remaining.

On the other end, Rubio forced Conley to wait until deep in the shot clock to attempt an entry pass to Zach Randolph, and Young knocked the ball away. Rubio picked it up and was grabbed by Randolph with just 10 seconds remaining and Rubio knocked down both free throws to put the Wolves up by one.

The Grizzlies tried to run a high screen-and-roll with Conley and Gasol, but Rubio pressed up on Conley with a good show on the pick from Nikola Pekovic, and Andrew Wiggins paid attention on the backside of the play and was there when Conley’s timing was off and his pass was slightly behind Gasol. Wiggins hoisted the ball in Rubio’s direction down the court, and time expired before Memphis could recover.

It was an incredible game, and the final minutes were a microcosm of exactly what Ricky Rubio offers when available. It’s going to be a fun final half of the season.

Star of the Game

Ricky Rubio (17 points on 6 of 12 shooting, 2 of 2 free throws, 3 of 4 three-pointers, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 turnovers)

Rubio was electric. And really, Andrew Wiggins could have been considered the co-Star of the Game, as he scored 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting and did a decent job bothering Jeff Green into a 5 of 13 night from the field. He also cut to open spots and scored in a variety of ways, from mid-range jumpers to put-backs and baskets in the lane.

The Wolves’ future dominated the final stages of the game, and it couldn’t be more encouraging for long-suffering fans of Minnesota basketball.

Tweet of the Night

Stat of the Night

Despite being outscored in the paint by a wide margin and largely dominated by Marc Gasol for portions of the second half, the Wolves absolutely destroyed the visiting Grizzlies on the glass by a final margin of 43-30.

Young again came to play, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds while Gorgui Dieng had seven, Wiggins had six, and Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Mo Williams each had five boards. It was more about aggression than anything else, and it was the one place on the stat sheet that made it painfully obvious how little Memphis tried tonight.

Notable Lines:

  • Ricky Rubio: 17 points (6-12 FG, 3-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals
  • Andrew Wiggins: 18 points (6-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 6-7 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Thaddeus Young: 14 points (6-14 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal

Who’s Got Next?

The Wolves get Saturday night off before heading to Detroit to face the up-and-down (and Brandon Jennings-less) Detroit Pistons. Minnesota beat the Pistons at home in the second game of the season with a fully healthy squad.

We’ll have any trade rumors that crop up this weekend here with thoughts and analysis on potential deals. In the meantime, enjoy this win and have a great weekend!