Did Nate Just Play His Way into the Rotation?

If you're a Knicks fan, you're happy for Mr. Robinson. It's like seeing your kid grow up and graduate college. Actually, it's more like seeing your kid grow up, graduate college, flip you off and drive away in an expensive car with another, cooler family.

--Wall Street Journal

Doc's playoff rotation has been tight . . . and successful. The starters plus Sheed, Baby, and TA. Throw in Michael Finley for a minute here and two minutes there, and call it a day. Except when you let Nate Robinson escape from the dungeon and he responds with one of those classic Celtic bench performances provided by little used scrubs at critical junctures in the post-season. In other words, it's a good bet Nate Robinson is now part of Celtics lore, especially if the Celtics win banner 18 against the purple and especially if he makes a meaningful contribution in the Finals.

But will he?

Nate has been a little Sam Cassellish to me. Don't get me wrong. I'm not Hatin' on Nate. If you've read this blog for any time, you know that I still defend Sam Cassell's end-of-season performance for the green. In his first game with the Celtics, he dropped the game-winning three on the Spurs (on the road, no less), and played pretty well at home in the first round. Cassell had his share of disappointing performances, too. And that's what makes Nate's tenure with Boston "Cassellish." He's up and down and a bit unpredictable.

This is not what you need in the NBA Finals, particularly when the Finals start on the road, where a 3-point deficit can become 18 in the blink of an eye, aided by point-guard boneheadedness. It's no secret that most players play better at home in the playoffs. Often it's a difference of night and day. It says here that Doc didn't just wait for the right playoff game to insert Nate, he waited for the right home playoff game to do so. Now with the Finals starting in LA, Doc has a bit of dilemma, made more difficult by the fact that Tony Allen, the back-up point guard Doc employed for most of the post-season, will likely be spending a few tours of duty guarding Kobe.

Who plays the point then? Nate? On the road? Did his game 6 performance in Boston constitute a moment that the Celtics' bench rides into the Finals? Or did his forgettable second-half performance in game 6 represent his return to earth from the rarefied air of quarter number 2?

I'm gonna say Doc plays Nate in the first half of game 1, but keeps him on a short leash.

What say you?


Founding Partner, Ryvin Wallace Group said...

Good to have you back! Just in time. :)

I think Nate's time has more to do with TA and how he responds to the injured ankle.

If we get the TA from the first 2 rounds, Nate might get some spot duty here and there.

If TA is having issues, we NEED Nate. A bit scary but who knows!

Lex said...

Should be an interesting Finals.

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