On back-to-back nights this week, the Boston Celtics guard came off the bench and provided instant offense in a pair of victories. Robinson, acquired from the New York Knicks on Feb. 18, had 14 points in 15 minutes against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, then scored 16 points in 21 minutes against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
“That’s Nate,’’ said Coach Doc Rivers after his team’s 104-80 victory over the Bobcats at the TD Garden. “Nate’s going to do that. He’s our X-factor in a lot of ways. I don’t know if we need him to play great to win, but I know when he plays great, it’s tough for us to lose.”
“Nate’s pure energy,’’ Kevin Garnett said. “I’ve said from Day One that we hated to lose E-House, but not only is he pure energy, he’s good energy. He’s almost like fresh air. He fits right in on our team.
When you see the word X-factor, it's difficult not to think of Stephon Marbury, who was acquired this time last year. Marbury wasn't an unmitigated failure, but he was less productive and more disappointing than Sam Cassell in 2008, and that says a lot.
The Boston Celtics' second unit looks like it's own team again for the first time since early in the season when the bench was scoring 50 points a game, sometimes outscoring the first unit and even outplaying them.
Having a bench that plays together is huge. Bringing in random pieces-parts off the pine is really just another way of saying "hold the fort, guys. That's all we expect." When a bench comes together and develops its own identity, the message is different: "OK, boys. Go have at it. Wreak some havoc. Leave some destruction in your wake."