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First things first

2/24/2010

BOSTON -- We know better than to judge a trade in one night, so as lackluster as Nate Robinson's debut appeared Tuesday night against his former team, the New York Knicks, know that it was still a step forward from his first real activity with the Boston Celtics on Monday.

Robinson, traded to Boston as part of a five-player swap at Thursday's trade deadline, joined Celtics coach Doc Rivers for a very unofficial practice session Monday.

How unofficial? Robinson learned Boston's basic offensive sets with a lineup that featured associate coach Tom Thibodeau at shooting guard and assistant coach Armond Hill at small forward (the other players had the day off after a four-game road trip).

That's a set that even the Knicks could beat.

"He's had one practice with no players," Rivers said before Tuesday's 110-106 win over the Knicks, who put up a bit more fight than Boston probably expected. "He ran our offense [Monday] with [Thibodeau] at the 2 and Armond [Hill] at the 3. It looked crazy, it looked awful. And it should have."

The Celtics didn't expect much more from Robinson on Tuesday, when he registered four points on 2-of-7 shooting with two steals and two turnovers in 16 unremarkable minutes.

As debuts go, it won't be remembered as endearingly as The Strokes' "Is This It" or Anna Paquin's Oscar-winning performance in "The Piano," but it's over and it was a win, so Robinson will take it.

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