He’s only been with us for four months, so it’s a process and I just like how he’s playing. I like how he’s leading as much as anything. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on Ricky Rubio
SALT LAKE CITY — Ricky Rubio has a secret.
“Don’t tell anybody,” Rubio said, smiling.
Moments after posting his sixth double-double of the season to help the Utah Jazz upset the defending champion Golden State Warriors, 129-99, Jazz coach Quin Snyder called his performance “terrific.”
“The shots that he took, that’s the best shot selection that he’s had,” Snyder said.
Rubio went off for 23 points, 11 assists and five rebounds on 9-for-16 shooting.
The reason for his latest surge? Former Jazz point guard Raul Lopez.
“Yeah, he came last week,” Rubio said. “I’ve been working out with him the last summer. He gives me a lot of confidence.”
Lopez, now retired, is largely identified with Jazz fans for being drafted ahead of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker with the 24th pick in 2001.
However, Rubio’s fellow Spaniard serves as a big influence for his career.
“We worked out last summer and then he came in the beginning of the season and he came last week,” Rubio said.
Rubio averages 11.4 points, 5.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his first season in Utah, but is putting up 16.0 points, 7.3 assists and 7.0 rebounds on 51.4 percent shooting over the Jazz’s latest three-game win streak against Detroit, Toronto and Golden State.
He also held Warriors All-Star Steph Curry to 14 points on 4-for-13 shooting Tuesday and Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry to five points and five turnovers on 2-for-14 shooting in Toronto last Friday. He’s finally starting to reach a level of comfort in his No. 3 Jazz uniform.
“He’s only been with us for four months,” Snyder said. “So, it’s a process and I just like how he’s playing. I like how he’s leading as much as anything.”
DEBUT: Two-way player Georges Niang made his Jazz debut against the Golden State Warriors. The former Iowa State All-American didn’t score in his lone minute, but was able to touch the floor against his former organization, logging a steal. Niang was a member of the G-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors before joining the Jazz on Jan. 14.
“It’s really cool,” Niang said. “I’m excited about it just to get out there and just do what I’ve been doing and be me. That’s all I can do and try to fit into what they’re doing.”
GOOD LUCK CHARM: The Jazz unveiled their new Nike City Edition jerseys and court for Tuesday’s 30-point win against Golden State in celebration of Utah’s natural beauty. The gradient uniforms will be on display again for the next home game against the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 9.