No comment seems to have been made by Lakers management, but it is no secret that the no. 3 spot needs some serious shoring up in L.A. Perhaps the Busses will complete the deal if Metta World Peace is thrown in…
The Minnesota Timberwolves enjoyed their first true romp of the 2011-12 NBA season, taking out the hapless Washington Wizards in D.C. yesterday, 93-72.
Fans of the league’s most polarizing player (at least here at BallinEurope.com), Ricky Rubio, got their fill as La Pistola produced his best statistical effort yet with a 13-point, 14-assist game against the Generals – sorry, Wizards. Better yet, Rubio added to his YouTubable highlight collection with at least three sweet connections with no. 2 overall draft pick Derrick Williams.
(Bonus Official Fearless Predictions™: Rubio and Williams will share NBA Rookie All-Star Game co-MVP honors as the freshmen top the sophomores.)
Rubio entered the game with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter. On the Wolves’ first possession thereafter, he’d hit his first jumper … and then things started getting scary for Washington as Minnesota went off on a 17-2 run.
Nevertheless, Rubio presented the possibility of a quandary for future NBA defenders. With the league’s minds sitting up and taking notice of the Human YouTube Highlight Clip, could Ricky suddenly start drawing double-teaming regularly? We already know he can pass out of (through?) them…
It’s always a good time for some predictions, eh? Sam Chadwick, Ball in Europe’s man in the UK, today dusts off the Official BallinEurope Crystal Ball in looking forward to another year of top-quality basketball in the world’s top competitions. Who does Sammy like in the NBA, Euroleague, college ball and the Olympics? Read on to find out (and see plenty of highlight clips).
This year sees the London Olympic games, a shortened NBA season, another year of Euroleague basketball and the NCAA Final Four – what more could we possibly ask for? Happy new year…
In a game BallinEurope’s been (half-)awaiting for years, Ricky Rubio debuted for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the team’s opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. Though the Thunder won the game 104-100, Rubio impressed with six points, six assists, five rebounds (!), zero turnovers and his first NBA YouTube-worthy highlights.
NBA dish no. 1 for the Spanish wunderkind will go down as one lightning-quick bounce pass threading a needle past Russell Westbrook and James Harden to find Zach Randolph coming into the lane. Check out Harden’s body language after this bucket; pwned! “He makes it so easy…”
The one going viral since approximately 0.68 seconds after the final buzzer is another deadly bounce pass in transition, with Rubio feeding Derrick Williams amid an unset Thunder D; Williams’ jam in the fourth quarter retook a boomeranging lead for the Timberwolves at 79-78.
Here’s Ricky in the post-game, perhaps most importantly stating that he “feels comfortable” out there. He sure did look it…
Later, Rubio messaged via Facebook: “En MIL ya. Derrota dura contra un gran equipo. Pero tenemos que pensar en mañana. No hay descanso. Gracias a todos por el apoyo.”
As Rubio opined in the above video, the ‘Wolves can’t exactly feel 100% good about a loss (On the other hand, what are you going to do? That’s Kevin Durant’s team…) but keeping it within four? Coming back from a late 10-point deficit? Showing some nice chemistry early? Kevin Love contributing a beastly performance (22 points, 12 boards, five assists) as though it’s March and he hasn’t missed a step? Nice.
It’s too early, the ‘Wolves may be too young and the depth may be a bit thin for BiE to concur just yet, but maybe ‘Wolves basketball is back.
Okay, after that Xmas distraction, BallinEurope is ready to write up some more stuff about good tidings and cheer*, namely, the start of the NBA season. With hours to go, BiE’s got just enough time to get in the part two of the Euro-centric big-league preview in this brief look at the teams in the Western Conference – plus Official Fearless Predictions™, guaranteed to be as accurate as they are popular.
*Los Angeles Lakers fans, over whom a huge cloud of doom hangs to start this season, excluded (sigh).
As in the Eastern Conference preview, BiE seeks to keep an eye on those players who contributed a stint in Continental ball this summer during the lockout period and even, to some, extent participants in Eurobasket 2011. BiE believes that the running start from real game-time situations plus the suddenly intensive NBA season will give the Euroballers an advantage in the short-term against more laggardly opponents not in “basketball shape.” And with the shortened regular season, a jump start will provide lasting effects.
Well now, BallinEurope only waited for this for years – even though BiE never thought he’d see it from Minnesota. Last night saw Ricky Rubio’s debut for the Timberwolves in a preseason matchup versus the Milwaukee Bucks and, awesomely enough, contributed a couple of YouTube-worthy moments.
(Is it enough to “bring folks back to Target Center” to witness the perhaps not-quite-so-woeful ‘Wolves in 2011-12? We’ll see.)
In any case, below runs Rubio’s top play: a magic feed for the alley-oop jam by fellow NBA rookie Derrick Williams s the game became a thorough rout in the fourth quarter.