Timberwolves 107, Bucks 98

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Ricky Rubio never made five three-pointers in a game.

But on Wednesday, the point guard paced the Minnesota Timberwolves with five three pointers to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-98.

Rubio came into the game shooting 23.4 percent from distance, with three games with more than one triple in the entire month of March. But he shot 5-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-5 from three-point range in the first half.

Rubio finished with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 12 assists to help lead the Timberwolves to victory.

Center Nikola Pekovic led the way with 27 points and eight rebounds. He shot 11-for-14 from the floor and also dished three assists.

The Bucks defense allowed Minnesota sharpshooters to get comfortable with a 61.5 three-point shooting percentage, the best of the season, beating the previous high of San Antonio's 52.9 percent.

Ersan Illysavoa kept Milwaukee in the game with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The fifth-year forward nailed a three from the top of the key as the shot clock expired to put the Bucks within two late in the third quarter.

This game was billed as a matchup of the guards, with both teams sporting a strong trio of backcourt scorers. But in addition to scoring, both teams displayed too many miscues. Monta Ellis had 18 points and six turnovers, Brandon Jennings poured in 13 points and three turnovers and Rubio had a game-high eight turnovers. The teams combined for 37 turnovers.

Because of the Philadelphia 76ers loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night, the Bucks' magic number is two for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Milwaukee has eight games left and owns a six-game cushion on the ninth-place Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot.

NOTES: Milwaukee is poised to make its 26th playoff appearance and first since 2006. ... Milwaukee trails Boston by 1 1/2 games for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. "We're just looking to get in the playoffs," said Bucks power forward Larry Sanders. "Whoever we play, the (Miami) Heat or whoever's No. 2, we're going to compete and play our best basketball." ... Injuries have plagued the Timberwolves as six players have amassed 235 missed games this season. The most glaring omission is forward Kevin Love, who scored a season-high 36 points vs. Cleveland on Dec. 7 before fracturing the third metacarpal in his right hand Jan 3.
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