Apparently wise well beyond his 21 years, Timberwolves rookie Ricky Rubio did more than finally start his first NBA game and play every second after intermission in an 87-80 victory at New Orleans dominated by teammate Kevin Love's second-half feats.
He also introduced cosmic principles into the team's muscle-bound locker room afterward.
Both Rubio and Love played the entire second half, one in which Love scored 28 of his game-high 34 points and wore out a Hornets team missing star guard Eric Gordon with a relentlessness that sent Love to the free-throw line for 18 shots total and 14 in the second half alone.
From 12 points ahead to start the fourth quarter to a 78-78 tie with two minutes left, the Wolves produced a decisive 7-0 run right after an official's call didn't go their way, just when last season's team probably would have wilted.
This time around, Rubio and Love put the game out of reach by getting to the free-throw line for four shots each.
Their only miss came on Love's last attempt, one that rattled around, came out and cost him a team record for perfection after he had made his first 17 free throws of the night.
He said bye-bye to a record that Tony Campbell and Micheal Williams now still own (16-for-16) only after he clutched a rebound tight and drew a foul with 29 seconds left and the game decided when he could have passed it to Rubio instead.
"He has the karma," said Rubio, his eyes almost actually twinkling after a game in which he started alongside fellow point guard Luke Ridnour. "We call it karma because he didn't pass to me the ball. He wanted two free throws and that's karma and that's how it works and I tell him. We can run the clock more seconds, but he didn't want to ... so that's karma."
Rubio starts, Wolves finish
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jan 14