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Fearless Nate Robinson is key to Bulls’ run
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 8, 2013 @ 12:00 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Nate Robinson couldn’t talk Tuesday, the 10 stitches in his upper lip making it too painful for him to move his mouth.
The irony was front and center as the diminutive Chicago Bulls guard loves the sound of his voice almost as much as he does taking shots, scoring points, irritating opponents and frustrating his coach.
“Nate don’t ever want to be quiet,” Bulls guard-forward Jimmy Butler said. “When he doesn’t want to talk to the media, that’s a first.”
Robinson wasn’t available to news reporters a day after the Bulls defeated the Miami Heat 93-86 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 2 here is scheduled for Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, TNT).
Generously listed at 5-9, Robinson was at the center of Chicago’s seven-game, first-round series win vs. the Brooklyn Nets and its win in Miami.
And yet, Robinson hasn’t made people forget Derrick Rose.
On the contrary, the controversy about the 2011 MVP’s return from anterior cruciate ligament surgery continues to rage, even as Robinson puts up Rose-like numbers. He had a game-high in points (27) and assists (nine) against the Heat, and scored Chicago’s final seven points during a 10-0 run that finished off the victory.
“Remember, this isn’t anything new,” his college coach at Washington, Lorenzo Romar, told USA TODAY Sports. “He has scored 50 points in a game before. The bigger the stage, the taller he gets.”
Worn down by minutes and struggling with injuries, the Bulls endure and excel based on coach Tom Thibodeau’s “Next Man Up” philosophy. If a player is in the game, Thibodeau expects the same from him as the player he replaced.
With guard Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) and forward Luol Deng (illness) out, Robinson has done just that, supplying points and leadership.
“He’s about as confident as they come, and that’s the thing that makes him good,” Thibodeau said. “If he misses a shot, he has a very short memory. He always thinks he’s hot.”
And Robinson was hot Monday, which made getting him back on the court with the stitched-up lip crucial.
Robinson smashed his lip on the floor diving for a loose … [For more on Fearless Nate Robinson is key to Bulls' impressive run, click here.]
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