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Wolves News 4/24/10


Ian Thomsen at SI.com says that Rubio has improved in 2 key areas this year

The more significant upgrade has been Rubio’s floor leadership. Last season with Joventut Badalona — a smaller Spanish club also based in Barcelona — he had pushed the tempo ceaselessly, but that recklessness wouldn’t do for the championship team he now leads. He has become a more disciplined point guard for Barcelona.

“Sometimes he was not taking into account the value of the ball and knowing the moment of the game,” Messina said of Rubio’s former style. “Now in the Euroleague, he knows when is the moment to try something and also when it is better to be safe and control the situation — and he has done this without losing his killer instinct.”

–There is also a lot of other information in this article. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan or are interested in the Euroleague.

 

Ricky Rubio takes 2nd place for the Euroleague’s Best Defender Award

BallinEurope.com

Meanwhile, NBA fans need take note: Finishing second was FC Barcelona wunderkind Ricky Rubio in what was reportedly “a very close race” – “one of the closest ever” reportedly – among the top three, with Diamantidis finishing third. In fourth through sixth places came Barça’s Fran Vazquez, CSKA’s J.R. Holden, and Stephane Lasme at Maccabi Tel Aviv.

–Continue on to BallinEurope to see video of Rubio getting 6 steals and 5 assists in 4 and a half minutes of a game. STUD!

 

Fresh off his stint as assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bill Laimbeer has his eyes on becoming an NBA head coach. The former bad boy is best known for his hard nose style and intensity, both as a player and a coach. He’s won titles as a player (2x NBA) and as a coach (3x WNBA). Some might scoff at accolades from the women’s league being counted, but competitive basketball is competitive basketball. Taking an elementary school team to three titles in five years in a league with roughly a dozen teams would be impressive. The concern with Bill is that he butts heads with just about everybody he meets. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t mind a coach willing to get into players faces when they don’t play with the passion that reflects their pay. His hard-nosed approach to the game is something not seen too often in modern NBA.
Dictator Stern is on a Fine-giving Rampage…
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…and Phil Jackson Doesn’t Like It
But Jackson couldn’t stop himself from getting at least one jab in at the officials, even though he admitted that he doesn’t think any of his comments made over the years gained him any favorable edge when it came to how referees called his games.

“You know, I know that the referees take an eye test, I don’t know if they take a reading test,” Jackson said.

Jackson also wanted to clear up his brief meeting with Stern prior to Game 3 at the Ford Center. Stern described it as, “I just came by and said, ‘Hi,’ and he said, ‘I don’t like you today,’ and I said, ‘I like you.’”

–Hahaha Phil Jackson quotes are always solid gold. Hey Stern, I have an idea: maybe the solution isn’t to stop criticizing the refs, but to GET BETTER REFS.

Please click “Read More” to read this weekend’s playoff update
Playoff Update
Western Conference

(1) Lakers vs. (8) Thunder
Lakers lead series 2-1
Key Player: Kevin Durant – He played poorly in the 1st game of the series, but since then he’s been great. In the Thunder’s win in Game 3, he had 29 points and 19 rebounds. He’s the only reason they have even a slight chance of beating the Lakers in this series.
Next Game: tonight at 8:30 on TNT
(2) Mavs vs. (7) Spurs
Spurs lead series 2-1
Key Player: Tim Duncan - This matchup has been intense so far. Dirk has been exceptional, but Timmy is my key player because the Spurs lead the series and have taken the home court advantage. He’s averaging 25.7 points and 10 rebounds per game and is punishing the Mavs’ big men in the paint.
Next Game: Sunday at 6:00 on TNT
(3) Suns vs. (6) Blazers
Suns lead series 2-1
Key Player: Jason Richardson – In the Suns Game 1 loss, JRich had 14 points. In the two wins since then, he’s had 29 & 42 point performances. When he’s able to score like that, it means the Suns offense is running on all cylinders, which is a very scary thing.
Next Game: today at 3:30 on TNT
(4) Nuggets vs. (5) Jazz
Jazz lead series 2-1
Key Player: Deron Williams – The Jazz are playing without AK47 and Mehmet Okur, but they just keep on truckin. Williams has been overlooked nationally for a long time in large part because of Chris Paul. Not anymore. So far in this series, he’s proved why he’s the best point guard in the league.
Next Game: Sunday at 8:30 on TNT
Eastern Conference

(1) Cavs vs. (8) Bulls
Cavs lead series 2-1
Key Player: Kirk Hinrich – Derrick Rose can’t take down the mighty Lebrons all by himself. He’s been great, but he needs help. In the Bulls two losses, Hinrich has averaged 6.5 points. In their Game 3 win, he had 27 points. The Cavs are in all likelihood are going to win this series, but at least the Bulls are trying to make things interesting.
Next Game: Sunday at 2:30 on ABC
(2) Magic vs. (7) Bobcats
Magic lead series 2-0
Key Player: Dwight Howard – Bobcats head coach Larry Brown, master of gameplanning, has come up with a very effective way to neutralize Howard. They’ve attacked him early in games on defense to get him in foul trouble and made him earn his points from the free throw line on offense, of which he is 6-18 so far. It’s given the severely outmatched Bobcats a chance, but even heroic efforts by Gerald Wallace & Stephen Jackson weren’t enough to steal a game. As long as Howard stays out of foul trouble, the Bobcats have no chance of winning this series.
Next Game: today at 1:00 on TNT
(3) Hawks vs. (6) Bucks
Hawks lead series 2-0
Key Player: Josh Smith – He was one assist away from a triple-double with a 21 point, 14 rebound, 9 assist performance in Game 2. With Andrew Bogut done for the season, the Bucks just don’t have the size and athleticism to match up with J-Smoove and Horford down low. At this point, I think the Bucks will be satisfied if they can manage to win a game in this series.
Next Game: today at 6:00 on ESPN
(4) Celtics vs. (5) Heat
Celtics lead series 3-0
Key Player: Ray Allen – Pierce had 32 points and the game-winning buzzer beater in Game 3 last night, but Ray Allen and the Celtics defense are the reason that they’ve taken a 3-0 lead on the Heat. DWade has gotten his points, but the Celtics have stopped him when it matters. They’re playing championship level defense right now, but it remains to be seen if they can keep it up against a more worthy opponent. On offense, Ray Ray led the way with 25 points and 7 three-pointers in the Celtics Game 2 blowout win, and chipped in another 25 points in Game 3.
Next Game: Sunday at 12:00 on ABC
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