Ricky Rubio‘s a slight-of-hand passing and dribbling is never more apparent than when he’s throwing the ball through an opponent’s 5-hole. After nutmegging Jarrett Jack and Michael Carter-Williams earlier this year, Portland’s Nicolas Batum was the next name added to Rubio’s nutmeg list during Minnesota’s 120-109 win over the Blazers.
While Rubio’s early game hijinks were fun for the fans at Minnesota’s Target Center, it took the all-around brilliance of Kevin Love and some great offense from Nikola Pekovic to give Minnesota the win over a Portland team with one of the hottest point guards in the game.
Love was 10-of-18 from the floor for 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists; Pekovic was 14-of-19 from the field for 30 points and nine rebounds.
The ‘Wolves needed the big contributions from their frontcourt stars to match another unconscious shooting night from Damian Lillard. After hitting back-to-back game-winners against the Pistons and the Cavs, Lillard was again hot from outside in Minnesota, shooting 7-of-14 from three-point range on his way to a team-high 36 points, plus six assists and six boards. Batum, despite getting embarrassed by Rubio on the nutmeg in the first quarter, chipped in 20 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double (15 & 14) despite shooting just 7-of-22 in the loss.
The win pushes the ‘Wolves back to .500 at 13-13 on the season and drops the Blazers to 22-5, less than half a game back of the league-leading Thunder.
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @countcenci.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.