Ricky Rubio Records 3rd Career Triple-Double in Win over Dallas Mavericks

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) of Spain dribbles the ball during the first half an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Ricky Rubio has drawn the ire of Minnesota Timberwolves fans on plenty of nights this year. Wednesday was not one of them.

In leading the Wolves to a stirring 123-122 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks, the Spanish point guard tossed up 22 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in 49 fantastic minutes. It was Rubio's third career triple-double, and his first since November 10, 2013, per Basketball-Reference.com.

A broken shot and a failure to live up to some pretty weighty expectations have made Rubio something of a scapegoat in Minnesota. After all, with Kevin Love piling up the stats on a nightly basis, somebody has to take the blame for Minny's disappointing season.

Britt Robson of MinnPost.com explains the situation in the land o' lakes: 

The handy way Rubio’s reputation has been stained this season began when pundits (me included) discovered that he is currently the most inaccurate shooting point guard in modern NBA history, if you judge pure field goal percentage among guards who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the league since 1968.

For one night at least, Rubio forced fans to take their focus off of the one thing he can't do and instead shift it onto the many things he can. As it turns out, the list of things he can do is pretty long.

Rubio was a beast against Dallas, darting all over the floor, disrupting play on defense and finding every seam in the Mavs' coverage. Minnesota's pick-and-roll was humming all night, and Dallas never quite figured out how to handle Rubio and Love's two-man attack.

The much-maligned shooter knocked down eight of his 12 shots from the field, even hitting a pair of key foul shots to help force overtime. In other words, it was Rubio's night.

There had already been 33 triple-doubles in the NBA this year, and when Love registered one of his own on Feb. 22, Rubio said (via ESPN): "It's fun to play with him."

We'll forgive the understatement, but not before acknowledging that Rubio was more than "fun" on Wednesday. He was absolutely phenomenal.

With a sizable six-game gap still separating the Wolves from Dallas and the No. 8 seed in the West, Rubio's performance won't matter much in the final analysis of this season. But it should serve as a reminder that there's still hope for him to achieve the star status so many expected of him.

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