After a rough home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers followed by a shocking loss at the hands of the New Jersey Nets, there are plenty of questions among local fans as to whether the Boston Celtics have what it takes to win the NBA title — as well as if Nate Robinson is part of the answer or the problem.
Since joining Boston in exchange for Eddie House, Robinson has played three games, against the Cavaliers, Nets and his former team, the Knicks. The Celtics are 1-2 in that span, escaping by the skin of their teeth against the Knicks.
It was only in the final game that Robinson made an impact, scoring 13 points in 23 minutes off the bench. While many understand that Robinson needs to get his feet wet before he can be judged, his presence still sparks many opinions among Celtics supporters.
"I don't see Robinson making an impact," says Scott Caplan of Burlington, Mass. Conversely, he also cites House's ability to drain 3-pointers as just how much impact a substitute guard can have on a game.
While a 3-point dagger at just the right time can mean everything, Juan Rivera of Worcester disagrees with Caplan's overall sentiments. Rivera believes that Robinson is a "better pure shooter, defender and can shoot free throws," whereas, "House has only the 3-point game."
Robinson joined a team that has since gone into disarray thanks to injuries. Paul Pierce missed a week with a strained thumb, although he is expected to return Tuesday night against Detroit. Kendrick Perkins has come down with the flu and will not travel to the Pistons game, leaving Boston without its best big man.
Health is the biggest threat facing this team, and Adam Molinski of Gloucester, for one, believes it is the only thing standing between Boston and the NBA finals. "If [the Celtics] can be healthy, it will be tough to beat [them]," he states.
Tyler Nielson of South Boston isn't so sure, suggesting instead that Boston needed to acquire an "exterior presence" at the trade deadline. However, Nielson understands why it was tough to swing a trade without dealing Ray Allen and his expiring contract, given Allen's current value to the team.
After the season, Boston will have plenty of time to look for a stronger exterior presence. Caplan, for his part, believes the Celtics core should be broken up if it can't accomplish anything in the postseason. "The key is to become younger and play harder," Caplan says.
With the free-agent bonanza heading the NBA's way, it may be possible for Boston to do just that.