Nate Robinson Truly Playing Like ‘Sky’s the Limit’


June 11, 2010

Nate Robinson Truly Playing Like 'Sky's the Limit' BOSTON — Nate Robinson began the season in basketball hell. Now, he and the Celtics are two victories shy of immortality.

Robinson was a pint-sized spark plug Thursday night during the Celtics' 96-89 victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers, and his energy helped the C's even the series 2-2, with Game 5 set for Sunday night at the Garden.

The 5-foot-9 firecracker had 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 17 minutes, and it's abundantly clear that he is enjoying and appreciating his experience on the game's brightest stage. He's come a heck of a long way from his days in Mike D'Antoni's New York doghouse, where basketball was a chore on its best nights and an embarrassment on its worst.

"I'm loving it right now," said Robinson, who was one point shy of the playoff career high he set in Game 6 against the Magic. "It's a blessing. I'm very happy."

Just six months ago, Robinson the Knick was mired in the middle of a 14-game benching. Now, after the February trade, Robinson the Celtic is engulfed in an important role off the bench. His energy is always an asset, and his scoring and defense have come in waves. And his ability to be a competent replacement for the oft-battered Rajon Rondo has been a priceless benefit.

"My energy, that?s me," Robinson said. "I can score points. I can do all that and play D. I just want to bring energy. The more energy I bring, the more I get the crowd involved, my teammates, the energy of the building. The sky's the limit. I just love bringing energy."

D'Antoni too often served as the lightning bolt that shut down Robinson's energy grate in New York City, where Robinson's days were riddled with a barrage of highs and — mostly — lows. The Knicks were a ghastly 130-251 (.341 winning percentage) during his four-and-a-half seasons.

Without any structure in the system or a knowledge of how to win, the Knicks were far too individual, Robinson included. With a defined role in Boston, he's been able to put all of his focus onto one thing, and it's paid off through much of the Celtics' last eight games.

"When you're playing like that, you just try to play as hard as you can for as long as you can," Robinson said.

Robinson first met with the Boston media in February, and there was a genuine glow in his eyes when he spoke about the Celtics' history and their chances to put another championship run together in 2010. He was bowled over with the thoughts of being part of a winner, with such an experience so far out of his grasp throughout his entire professional career.

Since that title run has been in full swing, and with the Larry O'Brien Trophy a realistic possibility, Robinson hasn?t shied from showing his appreciation of the moment. It's certainly refreshing to see a guy understand how quickly his career has turned for the good, and it's made Robinson work harder to make sure that doesn?t go away.

"My teammates put so much confidence in me, and I just feel like a kid that's at the park with all my boys playing basketball," Robinson said. "The whole team, the whole class welcomes you with open arms and makes it easy for you to feel loved. I was like, 'Oh yeah, I'm at home.'"

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