Cavs told Ricky Rubio they wanted the Team Spain version of him

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ricky Rubio delivered an exhilarating comeback win against the Detroit Pistons, showing the Team Spain version of himself. 

The Boston Celtics maybe 6-7, but they nearly had another win on Saturday night when facing the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers played up from behind, staging an incredible 91-89 comeback win at the hands of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.

“If we wanted a shot at it, I felt like he was going to be the one to help us get there,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

But Rubio hadn’t been playing all game, as Isaac Okoro was the one playing for an injured Collin Sexton. The Cavs were coming off four out of five empty possessions and two turnovers. It was time for Rubio to have his moment.

With 9:32 left in the third quarter, Rubio checked in and changed the game. Sitting at a 15-point deficit when he entered the game,  Rubio helped his team outscore Boston by 17 points in the final 21:32 of the game.

As the veteran point guard facilitating the offense, Rubio was the “backbone” of the team in the thrilling comeback performance.

“It’s Ricky,” Cavaliers teammate Cedi Osman said. “Great leader. I don’t know what else to say.”

Cleveland Cavaliers wanted Ricky Rubio to play like he did for Team Spain

For his part, Rubio scored 14 points and had seven assists, but that’s not all he did for the offense. The 31-year-old veteran led the team with calm and experience, which is exactly why Bickerstaff traded for him on Aug. 3.

When they did, Bickerstaff made it clear to Rubio what they wanted out of him: the version of himself that played for Team Spain.

“We told Ricky we wanted the Spanish National Team Ricky,” Bickerstaff said. “We wanted him to be an aggressive offensive-minded player. He is so unselfish by nature that he is still always eyes out. But when he’s at his best offensively, he’s aggressive and lets the defense make the decision for him, whether it’s shot, whether it’s pass.”

Rubio has an impressive record as an international player, his most recent accolade being a gold medal for Spain in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. In that tournament, Rubio was named as one of the FIBA World Cup All-Star Five in addition to winning World Cup MVP.

It’s safe to say Team Spain Ricky was out in full force — and the Cavs hope for the same as they retake Boston on Monday night.

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