AL HAMNIK: Nate Robinson's epic quarter not of this world

2013-04-27T18:15:00Z 2013-11-26T20:04:12Z AL HAMNIK: Nate Robinson's epic quarter not of this worldAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
April 27, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Nate Robinson isn't human.

Tear off his Bulls jersey and there's got to be a big “S” on his chest.

He's not from this world. Can't possibly be.

My guess is the planet Jump-iter or Trey-on, where the diminutive guard learned to shoot from the horizon.

Mr. Super Sub recently said the only “shot” he fears is on a doctor's visit. Funny guy. Know something? It's true. He'd shoot until his right arm fell off, then switch to the left.

You saw it, actually experienced it, if you were at Saturday's four-hour marathon with the Brooklyn Nets or couldn't pull yourself away from the TV at home.

The Bulls won 142-134 in triple overtime and little Nate had only five points entering the fourth quarter. That's all. Five.

Then the self-proclaimed “X” factor went off like a four alarm blaze and smoked Brooklyn for 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

He wasn't finished. Nope. Superman doesn't work part-time.

Robinson's bank shot with 1.7 seconds left in the quarter gave Chicago a 121-119 lead before Joe Johnson tied it on his runner with two-tenths of a second remaining.

Nate kept chucking until he fouled out at 1:03 of the second OT, leaving with 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting and three 3s.

“I just played with a lot of energy. That's when I'm at my best,” Robinson said. “I get into a 'zone,' you could say.

“I'm just a fierce competitor. I hate to lose. I love to win. I'm kinda selfish, you could say.”

Maybe so, but teammates gladly feed him the ball because he's the only one who can create his own shot in crunch time. Saturday, little Nate was unloading from everywhere. He'd drive and pop, pull up and pop, shoot while falling down, shoot with 7-foot Brook Lopez in his face, shoot while double- and triple-teamed.

“I feel like I'm on fire all the time,” Robinson said. “I play with a lot of confidence and feel like I can't miss.”

He wasn't the sole reason the Bulls survived to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, but if this game deserved a parade, Robinson would've been riding in the lead float, no questions asked.

“Nate's a character,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I had a good understanding of who he is during my experience with him in Boston, so you've got to take the whole package.”

On this memorable afternoon, “Good Nate” showed up and “Bad Nate” stayed home, thankfully.

“The good outweighs the bad,” Thibodeau said. “He's done great for us. He's had a lot of big moments. We've needed his scoring and he's making plays better than he ever did.”

There are still times when Thibodeau will curse Robinson's shot selection under his breath, then applaud when it defies all odds and goes through.

It's the whole package, remember?

“I tease Coach a lot because it seems every shot I take, he's mad,” Robinson said, smiling. “I tell him don't call a play for me, just let the ball find me.”

His 34 points is a Bulls' playoff record by a reserve.

His 23 fourth-quarter points were the second most by a Bull in the playoffs.

Michael Jordan had 24, but never with such drama.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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