Sunday, February 13, 2011
Nate Robinson plays vs. Heat
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Despite suffering a right knee bruise that forced him out of Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Celtics guard Nate Robinson was feeling well enough to give it a go in Sunday's showdown with the Miami Heat.
He went scoreless in five minutes of the Celtics' 85-82 win.
"No [minute restriction], he's fine," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game.
Robinson knocked knees with Los Angeles' Shannon Brown early in the second quarter of Thursday's game, then hopped off the court after committing an intentional foul to stop play. He did not return. Robinson also sat out Saturday's practice, but said after the session that he was getting additional treatment and hoped to play Sunday with the aid of a knee brace.
The ability for Robinson to suit up was key for a Celtics team that dressed only 10 available bodies. Despite another attempt to wiggle his way onto the active roster (this time by dressing in full game gear for Boston's pregame walkthrough Sunday), the team will keep reserve guard Delonte West (fractured right wrist) on the sideline for at least one more game, hoping to bring him back on limited minutes for Wednesday's pre-All-Star finale against the New Jersey Nets.
The Celtics were down three big men Sunday as well in Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles), Semih Erden (right adductor strain), and Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery). A day after Rivers suggested Shaq has experienced little recovery from the foot injury, the 38-year-old center arrived at the arena wearing a walking boot.
Boston also was without swingman Marquis Daniels, who suffered a bruised spinal cord a week ago against the Orlando Magic, and is sidelined indefinitely. Rivers did note that Daniels will undergo tests next week to determine his long-term prognosis, but was not optimistic about his chances of coming back quickly.
"I know they're doing the test next week," said Rivers. "I don't even know what day and I know they haven't even found the doctors yet -- which doctors are going to do it. I would tell you this: I wouldn't anticipate Marquis coming back any time soon."
"This is a tough one, honestly," said Rivers. "We knew it coming in. If Ray [Allen] or Paul [Pierce] get in foul trouble, with what we have, it's very difficult for us right now. So, we're not going to change a lot, but we are going to change our defense a little bit. The fact that we are going to be in more help, it opens up their shooters and that helps them. We have to try to protect Paul and Ray from foul trouble, we have no choice in the matter. Hopefully by the fourth quarter, if they're in normal foul trouble, we can go back to our normal defense."
Despite an 0-2 record against the Celtics, the Heat were not putting too much pressure on themselves Sunday.
"I know everybody's making it out to be a make-all, break-all," said coach Erik Spoelstra before the game. "For us, it's an opportunity to improve and work on a couple of things that we've been making strides with over the last month, and that's to play better against the elite teams and also to trust and execute better in close games, particularly in the fourth quarter, and this is another opportunity for us to take a step forward in both those categories against a very good team."
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.