MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When Tom Thibodeau came into take over the Minnesota Timberwolves, it became clear right away Ricky Rubio wouldn’t work as his point guard.
Thibodeau tried to play nice with Rubio, giving him plenty of minutes despite all kinds of trade rumors in the only season they were together.
Then before the start of this season, Thibodeau parted ways with Rubio, trading him to the Utah Jazz. It eventually led to Jeff Teague signing with Minnesota in free agency.
With the Timberwolves, Rubio had a pass-first mentality and played lock down defense, but was mostly a liability on offense. That was especially true late in games, where opponents didn’t guard him and dared him to shoot.
Rubio might have gotten the most recent revenge. His Jazz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Playoffs Wednesday night, 102-95. Rubio scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had nine assists. The win evened the series with the Thunder at 1-1 as it heads to Utah.
That’s right, Rubio has a playoff victory. And to poke that needle a little more, the Timberwolves were bludgeoned by the Houston Rockets 102-82 Wednesday night to fall behind 2-0 in their playoff series. The Timberwolves hope to change that Saturday night, when Houston comes to Target Center.
The Timberwolves are seeking their first playoff win since 2003-04. And to make matters worse, the Timberwolves’ two best players all season are no-shows so far in the playoffs. Karl-Anthony Towns scored just five points and only took nine shots Wednesday. Jimmy Butler scored 11 points, but only took six shots.
In two games, Butler has taken a combined 17 shots. Towns has taken 18.
Inexplicably, Minnesota has gone away from its two best offensive options in its first two playoff games.
To make matters worse, Rubio and the Jazz seemingly have a shot to win their series. The Timberwolves are staring 4-0 sweep in the face against arguably the best team in the NBA.