NEW YORK — Nate Robinson was roundly booed during pregame introductions and most every time he touched the ball in Monday's Game 5.
Whether that was because of Robinson's scuffle with C.J. Watson on Saturday or his 23-point fourth-quarter outburst is a question for each Brooklyn fans in the building. For Robinson, it was easy to shrug off the fan reaction.
“It's all love. It's all good,” Robinson said after the game. “To me, that means nothing. It just shows that they open their eyes and they see that not just myself, but our team, we play hard and that's the way it's going to be.”
Starting Monday in place of the injured Kirk Hinrich, Robinson led the Bulls with 20 points and 8 assists. But he didn't get it rolling in the fourth quarter like he did on Saturday.
Before the game, Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo promised to act sooner to douse the flame if Robinson got red hot again.
“They do the same things other teams do if I get hot,” said Robinson, who hit 9 of 19 shots in Game 5. “Trap pick and rolls and whatever. One thing they don't understand, I play the game. It doesn't have to be me scoring or whatever. I just play hard. The ball will find the energy and the guy that's hot. It has nothing to do with, 'Oh, I'm hot' or whatever. I just play the game for what it is.”
Hinrich has to sit out:
Kirk Hinrich emerged from Saturday's marathon Game 4 with a bruised left calf, which forced him to miss Monday's matchup in Brooklyn.
In retrospect, he thinks playing nearly 60 minutes in the triple-overtime thriller might have been the best option.
“It happened in the first half,” he said. “It was definitely bothering me the whole second half. But the fact I didn't stop and was able to keep moving helped. It just went downhill after the game and overnight.
“From the way it reacted after the game, if I would've sat out (in the second half), it would've been very difficult to return.”
Hinrich entered Monday's shootaround in a walking boot. It's possible this injury will keep him out for more than one game, but it's too soon to tell.
“It's preventing me from walking right now,” Hinrich said. “I'm just going to stay after it with the medical staff, treatments around the clock and hopefully it will improve.
“Nobody wants to miss playoff games. This is what you look to all year. There's nothing really I can do at this point. Just continue to try to improve it every day and see how it goes.”
Bulls react to Collins' news:
Some of the Bulls joined the positive reaction to Washington center Jason Collins' announcement that he's gay. Kirk Hinrich played with Collins last season in Atlanta.
“I was surprised, but it's his business,” Hinrich said before the game. “I don't like people trying to tell me how to live my life. He was a good teammate, a good guy. It's really not significant to me. It doesn't really change what kind of person he is. He's a good guy, and that's just who he is.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged that he met with Collins last summer when the Bulls sought a backup center.
“I was very impressed with him as a person,” Thibodeau said. “Two close friends of mine have coached him and they've raved about him as a person, as a player, as a leader. So I didn't think it was a big deal. In today's society, that's normal. So I was very impressed with him. My opinion of him hasn't changed one bit and I'm happy for him.”
Second look at skirmish:
Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said the league office rescinded the technical foul on C.J. Watson from the scuffle with Nate Robinson in Game 4.
Local reporters asked both coaches if Robinson should have been ejected and suspended for the skirmish which included no punches.
“In retrospect, they should have thrown both of them out immediately,” Carlesimo said with a laugh, probably not meaning any disrespect to Watson, who missed a dunk while the Nets led by 14 in the fourth quarter.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.