Good news, everybody: I think Ricky Rubio is having fun again.
With just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter on Tuesday night, Rubio's Minnesota Timberwolves held a 23-point lead over the Utah Jazz. Play had to be stopped momentarily to clean up a slick spot on the court resulting from Wolves guard Kevin Martin bleeding hard after cutting his hand on what appeared to be one of Jazz guard Alec Burks' teeth. That, clearly, is not cute. What came about afterward, though, was very, very much so:
Utah mascot Jazz Bear — who, as you might recall, enjoys tweaking referees a bit — brought a young girl attending the game out onto the court while the clean-up crew did its work. After goosing a referee and attempting to blame it on the girl, Jazz Bear brought his young charge over to the referee holding the basketball while waiting to resume play, took it away, and gave it to her. (Such a troublemaker, that Jazz bear.)
So there she was, just standin' there and holding a ball half as big as she was ... and up walks Rubio, looking to do a little passing (naturally) to pass the time.
Pretty good hands, kid. Just a shame you had to be leaving so soon.
Rubio had plenty of leeway to have a bit of fun on Tuesday after turning in 11 points on 3 for 5 shooting from the field and a perfect 4 for 4 from the foul line, his first double-figure scoring performance in seven games. The point guard added 13 assists, five rebounds, five steals and just one turnover in 39 minutes to help pace Minnesota to a 112-97 road win. The front-line duo of Kevin Love (19 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists) and Nikola Pekovic (18 points, nine rebounds) led the way for the Wolves, who improved to 20-21 on the season, and now sit 3 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Gordon Hayward returned from five games on the shelf with a strained left hip flexor to score a game-high 27 points with five rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Jazz, who have dropped three of their last four, which isn't great. (Well, unless you're on the "every loss is another boost to our lottery odds" rebuilding plan; in that case, then, congratulations.) The good news, though, is that we've now got another young Jazz fan to celebrate, and this time, nobody's crying or flopping down all tired and defeated. Total win-win ... y'know, except for the loss.
Video via frank den.
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