Ricky Rubio returns for Timberwolves in OT win over Mavericks

The white sleeve on Ricky Rubio’s left knee served as a reminder of what he went through to get back on the court.

While it served to protect his surgically repaired joint, it clearly does nothing to constrict the creativity and unbridled joy that made him one of the most exciting players in the league before he went down last season.

Nine long months later, it’s as if Rubio never left.

Zipping passes between his legs to his Timberwolves teammates in a dazzling season debut, Rubio had nine assists and eight points in 18 minutes of Minnesota’s 114-106 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Andrei Kirilenko scored five of his 14 points in overtime while Rubio watched from the bench because of a minutes restriction…

Nikola Pekovic scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, who won their fourth straight game despite playing without All-Star Kevin Love because of an illness.

O.J. Mayo had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds and Shawn Marion had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who led by 13 early before Rubio came off the bench for the first time since he tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in March…

Alexey Shved had 18 points and six assists and the Wolves scored the first 10 points in overtime to send an amped crowd home happy.

Derek Fisher scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who turned the ball over 20 times. They led 98-96 after Fisher’s four-point play with 2:50 to go.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press