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Rubio gets first taste of NBA

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DALY CITY, Calif. (AP)

Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio still managed to get his first taste of NBA-caliber competition during the lockout.

Rubio played Sunday night in the Drew Gooden Make-A-Wish Charity Game at the Cow Palace.

The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard showed off passing skills, a nice long-range shot and even some humor during the game that raised $10,000 for Gooden's favorite cause.

Rubio was on the losing side but it really didn't matter. Both teams played as if they weren't keeping score. For the record, the White team, which featured California product Leon Powe and former Warriors player Al Harrington, won 117-92.

''It's fun to play with NBA players,'' Rubio said. ''It should make it easier when we come back to play.''

Rubio, who signed with the Timberwolves in June, still has the option to return to Spain, where he became the youngest player on a roster of the Spanish ACB League at age 14 in 2005.

''I'm going to stay here for a while to see if we'll play,'' Rubio said. ''I can always go back to Spain. So I know I will be playing basketball somewhere this season.''

Rubio drilled a 3-pointer on his first attempt and executed a perfectly timed alley-oop pass with DeMar DeRozan for a backdoor slam.

DeRozan also had the best dunk of the night with a monster slam. Joakim Noah, unofficially, produced the most slams and James Harden recorded the most ingenuous slam.

The teams played four, 10-minute quarters with a 15-minute halftime that was entertaining as the game itself.

At one point in the second half, Rubio gave the ball to a fan, asking him to inbound it for him. Players subbed into the game during play, ala hockey's shift change.

DeRozan and Gooden attempted full-length of the court shots during halftime and the game was stopped twice for an on-court shooting contest.

Originally scheduled to be played at the University of San Francisco, the game was switched to the Cow Palace at the last moment. Cow Palace Rentals and Operations Officer Diana Colvin said a concert, originally scheduled for Saturday night, was canceled, making it easier to transform the venerable arena into a basketball configuration.

Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio still managed to get his first taste of NBA-caliber competition during the lockout

Rubio played Sunday night in the Drew Gooden Make-A-Wish Charity Game at the Cow Palace.

The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard showed off passing skills, a nice long-range shot and even some humor during the game that raised $10,000 for Gooden's favorite cause.

Rubio was on the losing side but it really didn't matter. Both teams played as if they weren't keeping score. For the record, the White team, which featured California product Leon Powe and former Warriors player Al Harrington, won 117-92.

Tagged: Nuggets, Bucks, Timberwolves, Raptors, Grizzlies, Al Harrington, Drew Gooden, Leon Powe, DeMar DeRozan

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