Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who recently earned his first minutes for the Cavs in over a year, didn’t take long to think back on his European basketball days when asked about a Memphis Grizzlies team that likes to “get a little chippy” by a Cavs beat reporter on Tuesday.
“Coming from Europe, over there, not just the players but the fans, it’s way different,” Rubio said. “It’s tough there. But of course it adds up. There’s two ways we can come out: Being bullied or just stand up for ourselves.
“I think we have the confidence that it takes to really be out there and don’t back down. We know they’re going to talk, we know that’s how they fire up, but we have what it takes to really compete and get a win over there, which is one of the toughest places to play right now.”
Ricky Rubio played for DKV Joventut and Regal FC Barcelona from 2005-11, according to Basketball Reference. He earned appearances in the EuroLeague and Liga ACB in Spain before officially heading to the Minnesota Timberwolves two years after he was drafted in the 2009-10 season.
Head coach JB Bickerstaff said the talk shouldn’t add any extra layers to the game.
“These dudes are competitors at the highest level,” Bickerstaff said. “So we go out, and they’ll go out and compete against anybody. I mean, the talk is fun, but that’s all it is is talk. At the end of the day, you’ve got to play basketball.”
Having confidence in oneself, Bickerstaff added, was no bad thing.
“Belief in yourself is the most important thing,” Bickerstaff said. “We’ve seen guys find that level when they believe in themselves. The talent starts to match that belief. That’s when you become a great individual player.
“It’s the same thing with teams. When you believe in yourself, that your collective becomes something greater than the individual, that’s when you become a really good team.”