Robinson snaps skid against the Lakers

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Robinson snaps skid against the Lakers

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.