By A.Sherrod Blakely
LOS ANGELES Nate Robinson has been in a slump of sorts lately, and it has not gone unnoticed by coach Doc Rivers.
In fact, Rivers said he gave serious thought to not even playing Robinson at all on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I just decided to go with him," Rivers said.
That decision, like so many others this season for Rivers and the Celtics, was the right one as Robinson was among the many reasons Boston was able to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 109-96.
As much as the Celtics believe Robinson can help them in an assortment of areas, he's in the league primarily because of his impressive shooting touch.
Lately, it's been nowhere to be found.
He came into Sunday's game having missed 20 of his previous 29 shots from the field.
But against the Lakers, he had 11 points off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting which included three, 3-pointers.
"He was fantastic," Rivers said.
It's not the first time Robinson has had a stretch in which his shot, for whatever reason, just doesn't seem to be falling.
When that happens, Robinson starts to break down his game to find the problem and fix it quickly.
He watches video to see how the ball is positioned on his hands. He pays closer attention to his lift on shots as well as his follow-through.
"I watch everything about the shot that I shoot," he said.
He also watches Ray Allen shoot to pick up pointers, in addition to checking old footage of himself in games in which he shot the ball well.
"I pretty much evaluate myself and how to get better," Robinson said.
He proved that on Sunday with the kind of performance Boston desperately needed from one of its key reserves.
And thankfully for him and the Celtics, Rivers had the confidence to continue playing him, even when, statistically-speaking, sitting him would have been a justifiable move.
It would not have been the first time Robinson would have not played due to a coaches decision.
"You have to be ready when you're number is called," Robinson said when told by CSNNE.com that Rivers had considered not playing him on Sunday.
When he played with the New York Knicks, Robinson was out of the lineup for 14 consecutive games in December of 2009.
Upon his return, he lit the Atlanta Hawks up for 41 points in a New Year's Day win for the Knicks.
"That didn't affect me," Robinson said. "I know that deep down inside, I'm a hell of a ballplayer in any system, any style of play."