Robinson awaits makeshift homecoming in Portland

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Robinson awaits makeshift homecoming in Portland

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

Nate Robinson doesnt get a homecoming anymore.

He hasnt had one in over two years. When the SuperSonics left Seattle and became the Oklahoma City Thunder, his chance to play in front of his home crowd went with them.

Robinsons closest opportunity to a homecoming this season comes when the Boston Celtics play the Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore. on Thursday.

His friends and family will be on hand to welcome him at the Rose Garden, nearly 200 miles south from the KeyArena in Seattle.

For me, its great, Robinson told CSNNE.com. Its awesome. I get to play in front of my mom, which I would love to do every day if I could. Shes always there cheering me on. I get to see some of my friends that I dont get to see as much. My mom, my nephew, hopefully my little sister, all my friends I grew up with, playing Little League with, theyre going to be there for sure.

Robinson, who has a tattoo of the Seattle skyline on the back of his neck, has spent his entire NBA career on the East Coast. Having only played for the Celtics and New York Knicks, he looks forward to returning out west.

But even though he will see his loved ones, there is still an empty feeling knowing they have to travel to another state to see him play.

Tough, tough, tough, its been real tough, he said of the Sonics departure. The first two years of Robinson's career, the Sonics were there. When I first went back home with the Knicks, I got a standing ovation, me and Seattle native Jamal Crawford, and then we ended up winning the game. Thats when Ray Allen was playing back with the Sonics. It was lovely, just to feel the love. It sucks that we dont get to go back.

The SuperSonics played a major role in Robinsons road to the NBA. As a child, he looked up to Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, and Detlef Schrempf.

They were the heart of Seattle, he said. It was the Sonics, all we had.

Today, the city blocks that once housed Robinsons dreams of basketball greatness have a different meaning.

Its like a ghost town, he said. I used to watch the Sonics play and we used to always stop by this little restaurant right across the street from the arena. And now going by there, knowing theres no Sonics, theres no reason to even go there anymore.

After experiencing a Sonics-less Seattle, Robinson cant help his feelings when he travels to Oklahoma every season instead of Washington.

When we play in Oklahoma City, I kind of get pissed, he admits. It kind of eats me alive, knowing were in Oklahoma and we could be in Seattle. Like, are you serious? Night and day.

Robinson may not have the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd anymore, but he will have plenty of reminders of it in the stands on Thursday against the Trail Blazers.

Having my mother there is a little piece of home, he said. Now being a grown man and not seeing your mom every day, it kind of sucks. Im kind of a mamas boy. But Mom Dukes will be there, cheering loud. She always makes me feel good, no matter if I play or not. Its a warm feeling.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Stars, studs, duds: Jae Crowder scores game-high 6 3-pointers

Stars, studs, duds: Jae Crowder scores game-high 6 3-pointers

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 123-111 Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards in their best-of-seven series. 

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: To be effective with all that he’s dealing with from an emotional standpoint continues to amaze us all. Thomas, just 24 hours removed from his younger sister’s funeral, delivered yet another gem of a game with 33 points on 11-for-23 shooting with nine assists with just two turnovers.

John Wall: Showing he’s more than just a guard with speed who can score, Wall finished with a double-double of 20 points on 9-for-20 shooting, to go with a game-high 16 assists.

STUDS

Jae Crowder: The Celtics needed a solid complimentary scorer to Isaiah Thomas, and Crowder was that dude during a critical third quarter stretch for Boston. He finished with a playoff career-high 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting with six rebounds. 

Bradley Beal: Half of one of the NBA’s best backcourts, Beal showed a much-improved postseason perimeter game. Having shot less than 30 percent on 3’s in Washington’s first-round series with Atlanta, Beal was 4-for-7 from long range which was part of his team high 27 -point game. 

Al Horford: Once again Horford flirted with a triple-double, scoring 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting, to go with 10 assists and nine rebounds with a blocked shot.  

Otto Porter Jr.: He was one of the few players for the Wizards whose plus/minus in Game 1 was positive (+3). He had 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and two steals. 

Avery Bradley: The numbers don’t always tell the story when it comes to Bradley’s impact. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in Game 1, but he still managed to score 18 points on 7-for-20 shooting, in addition to grabbing five rebounds with four assists and four steals.

Kelly Oubre Jr.: He was a major factor in Washington’s fast start and with Markieff Morris’ knee injury, he may wind up starting Game 2. He finished with 12 points off the bench, shooting 5-for-8 from the field.

DUDS

Gerald Green: The Celtics remain undefeated with Green in the starting lineup, but his impact on Game 1 was nowhere to be found. He played just seven minutes without taking a single shot from the field. The only stat he registered was a turnover while his plus/minus on the floor was -13.

Isaiah Thomas scores 33 as Celtics beat Wizards in Game 1

Isaiah Thomas scores 33 as Celtics beat Wizards in Game 1

BOSTON – Two weeks ago, Isaiah Thomas was less than 24 hours removed from the death of his baby sister, Chyna Thomas. 

He played well, but it wasn’t enough to get the win because he got very little help from his teammates. 

Call it a lesson learned. 

Because 24 hours after attending the funeral of his sister in Tacoma, Washington, Thomas delivered yet another 33-point performance – just like he did in Game 1 against Chicago. 

But there was a difference on Sunday – he got some help this time. 

Thomas’ scoring coupled with a pair of teammates also cracking the 20-point plateau – Jae Crowder and Al Horford – was enough to propel Boston to a hard fought 123-111 Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards. 

Game 2 in this best-of-seven series will be Tuesday night at the TD Garden. 

This game, like most of the four regular season battles with Washington, was not easy to come by even when the Celtics seemingly had the game under control in the second half. 

After a red-hot third quarter that propelled Boston to a 15-point lead, the Celtics cooled off considerably to start the fourth. 

That’s all the Wizards needed as they opened the quarter with a 9-0 run, similar to how they began the game.  

Boston’s first points of the fourth didn’t come until Thomas made a short floater with just under eight minutes to play. 

Washington showed tremendous fight in trying to get back in the game, while the Celtics did what they needed to do in order to keep a healthy distance score-wise between themselves and the Wizards.

Indeed, the Celtics had fought too hard and for too long to blow this game. 

The Celtics didn’t take their first lead until a Crowder 3-pointer put Boston ahead 73-71 with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter. He finished with a playoff career-high 24 points and six rebounds.

Washington soon tied it up, only for Crowder to strike again with another 3-pointer that made it a 76-73 game. 

The Celtics continued to surge ahead.

After a Marcus Smart steal, Avery Bradley moments later drained a wide open 3-pointer to give Boston an 81-74 lead to cap off a 13-3 run by the Celtics which led to a Wizards time-out with 4:45 to play in the quarter. 

Boston continued to pull away, ending the third with a 27-9 run which gave them a 95-80 lead going into the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards didn’t just come out hitting to start the game; they were absolutely smacking the Celtics around something silly as they opened the game with a 16-0 run and led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter. 

Marcin Gortat, who had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, did most of the damage early on. But as the game progressed, Washington’s John Wall (20 points, 16 assists) and Bradley Beal (27 points, four assists) put their imprint on the game as well.

Thomas got the Celtics on the scoreboard after being fouled on a three-point attempt. He would give Boston its first points of the game, making all three free throws with 8:04 to play in the quarter. 

The Celtics spent the rest of the first quarter facing a double-digit deficit which stood at 38-24 at the end of the first. 

Boston opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run which led to Wizards coach Scott Brooks calling a time-out with 10:27 to play in the half with Boston now trailing 40-31. 

The Celtics surge continued with the eventually tying the game up at 42-all after a Crowder 3-pointer. 

Washington regained the lead, but a 3-point play by Avery Bradley tied the game up again at 49-all.

Boston continued to hang close in the first half, which gave them the confidence to surge ahead in the second for the victory.