Bulls’ Nate Robinson ready for starting role
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com April 29, 2013 11:32AM
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:36PM
NEW YORK – Meet public enemy No. 1 in Brooklyn. All 5-feet-9 of him. And Nate Robinson wouldn’t want it any other way.
If the Bulls point guard thought the spotlight was on him and his Game 4 heroics Saturday, that light is about to be turned up a notch tonight, as Robinson is the likely starter for an injured Kirk Hinrich, and doing in what could be a close-out game for the Bulls in the best-of-seven series.
“I’m just ready for a win,’’ Robinson said before the morning shootaround Monday. “Regardless of how I play, I just want to help my team and play hard. Help my team bring that energy.’’
Which hasn’t been a problem for Robinson all season long. But he was downright combustible in that fourth quarter Saturday, scoring 23 of his 34 points in that final stanza to bring the Bulls back from 14 points down with three minutes left in regulation. The Bulls eventually won the game in three overtimes thanks in large part to Robinson.
But that was coming off the bench. Now he’ll have to likely do it as a starter, which means he’ll also have to deal with Brooklyn starting point guard Deron Williams, unless coach Tom Thibodeau throws Jimmy Butler on Williams, instead.
“Super tough,’’ Robinson said of guard Williams. “He’s one of the best point guards in the league.’’
There’s also that little matter of the feud with C.J. Watson. It seemed to reach a boiling point on Saturday, when the two were tangled up, before Robinson drove Watson into the scorer’s table, leading to each player landing a technical foul.
“It’s not really about C.J., it’s Bulls vs. Nets,’’ Robinson said of the incident. “Of course we have rivalries with other players, but I’m just looking to play hard. It’s not like I’m just going after just him. I’m going after each and every guy on that team.’’
And as far as being the target for a Nets fan base that has to be frustrated? That’s right in Robinson’s wheelhouse.
“It’s basketball,’’ Robinson said. “I just love playing basketball.’’