Los Angeles Lakers part owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timeberwolves in attendance for the game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on February 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Lakers welcome Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves to Staples Center for their only LA meeting this season. The Timberwolves are not a good team. They have lost 19 of their last 23 games, and their 20-34 record is trending in the wrong direction.
One player who is trending in the right direction is Ricky Rubio, Minnesota’s 22-year-old Spanish point guard. Rubio missed the first 20 games of the season through injury, and the Timberwolves were cautious with the playmaker’s minutes.
In his first 15 games back, Rubio only hit the 30 minutes mark on two occasions.
Lately, however, the Spaniard has been let loose. Over his past five games, Rubio is averaging 36 minutes per game. As a result, he is averaging 9.2 assists and 12.6 points over that stretch.
Rubio is not a particularly good shooter, but his natural passing vision and execution is a sight to behold. As spectacular as the Spaniard is with his assists, he is also prone to turnovers. Rubio has recorded six or more turnovers in four of his last six games.
With regard to turnovers, the Lakers have their own issues. Steve Nash gave the ball away six times against Denver, and he has recorded at least three turnovers in each of his last five games.
To be fair to the Canadian, Nash has not been the only offender. Kobe Bryant has recorded three or more turnovers in each of his last 13 games. In his last six games, Bryant is averaging 5.2 turnovers.
Add in Dwight Howard’s season average of 3.0 turnovers per game, and the triumvirate of Lakers’ stars is a triple threat of turnovers.
Luckily for the Lakers, Minnesota is 7-20 on the road entering Thursday night’s game, and the Lakers are winners in 11 of their last 16 games—including six of the last seven at home.
Hopefully, the Lakers can clean up their turnovers on Thursday night, or this game may end up being closer than it should be.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.