Nate Robinson hoisted the Chicago Bulls on his shoulders on Saturday, leading the team to an unlikely win and a 3-1 stranglehold on their opening round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bulls were down 14 points with close to three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and it appeared the Nets would steal a game in Chicago, but then Nate Robinson took over. The diminutive guard scored 29 points in the fourth quarter, including the first 12 points of a 14-0 run that pulled the Bulls into a tie with the Nets as time wound down in regulation.
As the Bulls were making their furious comeback bid, Nate Robinson hit a variety of shots. Off balance jumpshots, runners in the lane, long three-pointers.
“I always think I’m on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam,” he said. “You make a couple in a row, the rim’s on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball’s on fire. I feel like that at times — all the time. Whenever I’m in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can’t miss.”
Though Robinson would foul out, the Bulls went on to win the game 142-134 in three overtimes.
“It was big shot after big shot, but that’s what he does,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s what makes him so valuable. It doesn’t take him much to get going and when he gets going, he can go on a big run.”
For at least one game, Robinson made Bulls fans forget about their dashed hopes of seeing Derrick Rose return. After spending all season rehabbing from a torn ACL from last year’s playoffs, there was a glimmer of hope that Rose might suit up for the playoffs, but he and Thibodeau confirmed that the All Star guard was done until next year.
After Nate Robinson’s incredible performance, the Bulls have a chance to close out the best-of-seven series on Monday in Chicago.