MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Ricky Rubio has never made five 3s in a game.
On Wednesday, the flashy point guard known more for his highlight reel assists, made five 3s in the first half as the Timberwolves beat the Bucks, 107-98
Rubio shot 5-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half.
"It's incredible," said small forward Chase Budinger, who knows a thing or two about 3-point shooting. Budinger sports a 36-percent line for his career. "He's not known as a shooter. But I kind of saw it in warmups before the game that he was feeling great with his shot and it just carried over to the game."
Rubio finished with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting and 12 assists.
And when Rubio wasn't splashing jumpers, center Nikola Pekovic cleaned up the mess with 27 points and eight rebounds. He shot 11-for-14 from the floor and also handed out three assists.
"He's playing amazing and unbelievable this year," said Rubio of Pekovic, who is having the best season of his three-year career by averaging 16 points and eight rebounds. "His confidence is high and when you need a basket you look for him because he knows how to play and he gets it."
The Bucks' defense allowed Minnesota sharpshooters to get comfortable as they hit 61.5 percent from beyond the arc, the best 3-point shooting percentage of the season, beating the previous high of San Antonio's 52.9 percent. The Timberwolves averaged just 5.37 3s coming into the game, but turned the tables on the Bucks by nailing five 3s in the opening quarter.
Ersan Illysavoa kept Milwaukee in the game with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The fifth-year forward nailed a 3 from the top of the key as the shot clock expired to put the Bucks within two late in the third quarter. He was the only Buck who shot at least 10 times and finished with 50 percent from the floor on 12 of 21 shooting. He has now scored more than 20 points in four straight games.
This game matched up teams with excellent guard play.
But in addition to prolific scorers, the guards made many mistakes. Monta Ellis had 18 points and six turnovers, Brandon Jennings added 13 points and three turnovers. Rubio had a game-high eight turnovers. Both teams combined for 37 turnovers.
"We are not normally a turnover team," said Bucks coach Jim Boylan. "I haven't seen us play that sloppy in a while. It's a tough one for us to swallow at this point in the season."
Because of the Philadelphia loss to Charlotte, 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 Sixers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
"I just want to get in the playoffs," said center Larry Sanders, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds. "I'm not afraid of anybody. You just have to put your shoes on and play for 48 minutes."
NOTES: The win marks Rick Adelman's 999th victory of his career. He will try to become the eighth coach all-time to reach the 1,000-win plateau. ... After Boston's win over Detroit, the Bucks trail the Celtics by two-and-a-half games for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. ... The Wolves swept the season from the Bucks for the first time since 2008-09. ... Rubio had a career-high seven steals, breaking his previous mark of six.