Nate Robinson, pretty much a forgotten man. Did OK for the Celtics, hardly used by the Thunder before getting cut a day before the season began. Now? 24 points, 17 of them in the fourth quarter and overtime to stun the Miami Heat, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 111-106 win.
The Warriors will always surprise you when you’re not looking, the problem is they lose too much in between. Dorell Wright suddenly hit six three pointers, David Lee finished with a 20-14 night, Monte Ellis ran hot as he always does, eventually turning cold. He finished with 22 points, shooting 9-25, taking a page off of Kobe Bryant’s book.
The Miami Heat? No longer with the best record in the league as the Chicago Bulls take that mantle along with the Thunder (9-2). They did get a great game from Dwyane Wade, back from his injury with 34 points. LeBron James was the usual self, with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Bosh? 16 points. Just not enough from everything else, and a defensive effort which wasn’t the best we’ve seen from the Heat this season.
At times, it’s simply about not being able to stop a player, too much in the zone. Such was Nate Robinson’s performance, scoring 15 fourth quarter points, finishing with 24 all together. The Heat were leading by 17 as the third quarter was nearing its end, but things turned there.
It was great to see Nate Robinson, who people questioned and doubted, succeed. I didn’t know what he was when he was on other teams. And I understood the question marks. But I know he’s a fighter. And I know he’s a competitor. And, no pun intended, I know he’s a Warrior. And the guy left it on the floor. Thank God for second chances. (Mark Jackson, Warriors head coach)
What does this win mean for Golden State? The potential we all knew was there, offensively at least, got another boost with a now confident Kryptonate. Hopefully that is. His constant struggle to show he’s more than just a dunk champion does bring out performances like this one once in a while, but consistency and effort seem to be the big question marks throughout his career. Maybe Jackson can turn things around.
The other thing is winning away from home, which hasn’t happened this season for the Warriors, who are still hoping to make some sort of run to the postseason. They haven’t been there since 2007, and the wait is getting harder and harder.
For the Heat, nights like these will come. This team wasn’t meant to win 60 games this season, although it still might, who knows. The big three did score 66 points, but when the bench hardly contributes and hardly used, it’s tough to get by on that alone. The important thing is to remember what makes them the favorites, or among the top 3 to win the NBA when summer comes knockin’ on our doors.
It’s not about how much LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh score. It’s about what they’re able to create through their defense and transition game, which makes it much easier for the lesser mortals to put points on the board. When that things happens more easily, like it has for most of the season, usually coming from a better defensive effort than we saw in Oakland, things turn out just fine.