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Rubio scores career-high 33 as Wolves beat Lakers 119-104

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Ricky Rubio knows the Minnesota Timberwolves will almost assuredly miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year. Still, the pass-first point guard can take heart in knowing that he is changing the way the league views him as his season winds down.

Rubio had a career-high 33 points, 10 assists and five rebounds and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 32 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 119-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

''Starting the season, I wasn't feeling that good,'' said Rubio, who made 12 of 20 shots and 4 of 5 3-pointers, ''and now I feel the best I've ever felt.''

Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points for the Timberwolves (30-44), who have now won more games than they did last season. Minnesota had 30 assists and only 11 turnovers.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and D'Angelo Russell had 14 points and seven assists for the Lakers (21-54), who have lost 17 of their last 19 games. Brandon Ingram missed his third straight game with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.

''Defensively, we definitely have to do better communicating,'' Clarkson said. ''We were trying to force (Rubio) into taking those shots and giving a lot of help. He just made them tonight.''

After playing well coming out of the All-Star break to revive their playoff hopes, the Wolves lost six straight earlier this month to fade from contention. One of those losses was an ugly one to the Lakers in Los Angeles last week and they were in danger of giving away another lead late to the lowly Lakers when Clarkson hit a 3 to pull LA within nine in the final four minutes.

But Rubio scored on a drive to the basket and knocked down a 21-foot jumper to hold off the comeback. A 37 percent shooter for his career, Rubio is shooting 46.5 percent and 44 percent from 3-point range, since the All-Star break.

''He's someone that you normally are living with him shooting 3s,'' coach Luke Walton said. ''But our defense, we weren't communicating.''

Julius Randle had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Tarik Black had 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Lakers, who entered the day a half-game ahead of the Suns for the second-worst record in the NBA.

''I wish we could fight for the playoff right now,'' Rubio said. ''That's what I came here for. I hope we can build from here and finally take off next season.''

TIP-INS

Lakers: Walton said the plan was for Ingram to practice on Friday and play on Saturday if all went well. ... Thomas Robinson, who had not played in four of the last five games, gave the Lakers a lift with 12 points in 14 minutes. ... The Lakers bench outscored Minnesota's 47-10.

Timberwolves: Minnesota scored 25 points off of 17 Lakers turnovers. ... Debbie Saunders presented a check for $6,000 to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx Basketball Academy on behalf of the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund, named for the former Wolves president and coach who died from complications involving lymphoma in 2015.

ZUBAC HURT

Lakers big man Ivica Zubac limped off the floor two minutes into the game with a sprained right ankle. He was taken for X-rays, which were negative, the Lakers said. He suffered a high ankle sprain and will be evaluated when the Lakers get back to Los Angeles. He left the arena in a walking boot.

''I'm not sure if I stepped on somebody's foot or what,'' he said. ''But I don't know. Just rolled it.''

GORGUI'S EFFORT

Gorgui Dieng added 11 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks for Minnesota, giving the Wolves a presence on defense and a stability on offense that he has all season long. Towns and Wiggins get more shots and pile up more stats, but Dieng has been crucial to what the Wolves do.

''They may seem like small things,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''They're huge things in terms of winning.''

UP NEXT

Lakers: Los Angeles heads back home, but it's technically for a road game against the Clippers on Saturday.

Timberwolves: Minnesota plays the second of a three-game home stand on Saturday against Sacramento.

Copyright 2017 by Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Randle
30 PF
K. Towns
32 C
36.5 Min. Per Game 36.5
23.2 Pts. Per Game 23.2
2.6 Ast. Per Game 2.6
11.9 Reb. Per Game 11.9
48.0 Field Goal % 51.2
47.6 Three Point % 48.4
73.7 Free Throw % 82.4
  Offensive rebound by Julius Randle 0:00
  Thomas Robinson missed jump shot 0:01
+ 2 Ricky Rubio made driving layup 0:07
  Bad pass turnover on Thomas Robinson 0:30
+ 2 Ricky Rubio made driving layup 0:07
  Defensive rebound by Thomas Robinson 0:38
  Gorgui Dieng missed jump shot 0:40
+ 2 Thomas Robinson made driving layup 0:57
+ 1 Ricky Rubio made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:04
  Team rebound 1:04
  Ricky Rubio missed 1st of 2 free throws 1:04
Team Stats
Points 104 119
Field Goals 40-84 (47.6%) 43-89 (48.3%)
3-Pointers 9-27 (33.3%) 10-21 (47.6%)
Free Throws 15-16 (93.8%) 23-30 (76.7%)
Total Rebounds 48 50
Offensive 14 14
Defensive 28 26
Team 6 10
Assists 20 30
Steals 4 9
Blocks 5 5
Turnovers 17 11
Fouls 22 20
Technicals 3 1
away team logo
J. Clarkson PG 6
18 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST
home team logo
R. Rubio PG 9
33 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST
1234T
away team logo Lakers 21-54 37232222104
home team logo Timberwolves 30-4437302923119
Team Stats
away team logoLakers 21-54 112.0 PPG 47 RPG 21.5 APG
home team logoTimberwolves 30-44 99.5 PPG 43 RPG 20.0 APG
Key Players
J. Clarkson PG 17.5 PPG 2.0 RPG 1.5 APG 48.1 FG%
R. Rubio PG PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
J. Clarkson PG 18 PTS 3 REB 7 AST
R. Rubio PG 33 PTS 5 REB 10 AST
47.6 FG% 48.3
33.3 3PT FG% 47.6
93.8 FT% 76.7
Lakers
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Clarkson 40 18 3 7 0 0 4 1 6/13 4/8 2/2 0 3 31 -18
D. Russell 38 14 3 6 3 0 5 5 4/14 2/8 4/4 0 3 27 -12
J. Randle 29 12 13 1 0 1 3 5 5/12 1/3 1/1 6 7 25 -8
C. Brewer 18 11 2 2 0 0 0 1 4/8 0/2 3/4 0 2 17 -14
I. Zubac 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 -5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Clarkson 40 18 3 7 0 0 4 1 6/13 4/8 2/2 0 3 31 -18
D. Russell 38 14 3 6 3 0 5 5 4/14 2/8 4/4 0 3 27 -12
J. Randle 29 12 13 1 0 1 3 5 5/12 1/3 1/1 6 7 25 -8
C. Brewer 18 11 2 2 0 0 0 1 4/8 0/2 3/4 0 2 17 -14
I. Zubac 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 -5
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Black 23 15 9 0 0 2 0 1 7/8 0/0 1/1 5 4 26 -1
T. Robinson 14 12 3 0 0 0 3 3 6/9 0/0 0/0 1 2 12 -3
T. Ennis 19 12 1 3 1 0 0 1 4/8 2/3 2/2 0 1 20 0
L. Nance Jr. 28 4 2 0 0 2 1 1 2/6 0/2 0/0 1 1 7 -13
D. Nwaba 30 4 6 1 0 0 0 3 1/4 0/1 2/2 1 5 12 -1
N. Young - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. World Peace - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Mozgov - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Ingram - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Deng - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 241 104 42 20 4 5 17 22 40/84 9/27 15/16 14 28 179 -75
Timberwolves
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Rubio 38 33 5 10 2 0 3 1 12/20 4/5 5/6 1 4 57 +20
K. Towns 41 32 9 2 2 1 3 5 11/22 2/3 8/10 6 3 45 +17
A. Wiggins 40 27 4 2 1 0 0 4 9/20 1/3 8/10 2 2 36 +22
G. Dieng 42 11 15 6 0 3 1 4 4/9 1/1 2/3 4 11 40 +22
B. Rush 20 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 2/7 2/5 0/0 0 0 7 +11
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Rubio 38 33 5 10 2 0 3 1 12/20 4/5 5/6 1 4 57 +20
K. Towns 41 32 9 2 2 1 3 5 11/22 2/3 8/10 6 3 45 +17
A. Wiggins 40 27 4 2 1 0 0 4 9/20 1/3 8/10 2 2 36 +22
G. Dieng 42 11 15 6 0 3 1 4 4/9 1/1 2/3 4 11 40 +22
B. Rush 20 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 2/7 2/5 0/0 0 0 7 +11
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
O. Casspi 13 4 0 1 1 0 0 3 2/4 0/1 0/0 0 0 7 -9
K. Dunn 30 2 6 5 3 0 1 2 1/4 0/2 0/0 1 5 20 +5
S. Muhammad 10 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 2 -8
T. Jones 6 2 0 4 0 0 1 1 1/2 0/1 0/1 0 0 9 -5
N. Pekovic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Hill - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Aldrich - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Bjelica - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. LaVine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Payne - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 240 119 40 30 9 5 11 20 43/89 10/21 23/30 14 26 223 +75