100 days of hoops, hardwood

100 Days of Hoops: Day 23, Nate the Great

Some say the Chicago Bulls wasted the 2012-13 season.  A full year after Derrick Rose’s ACL tear, the Bulls found themselves in the playoffs as the fifth seed against the brand new Brooklyn Nets. As fans began to realize Rose was not set to return to the season, championship aspirations lessened and a deep playoff run did not seem very realistic.

The Bulls finished 45-37. And they weren’t like the Bulls teams of the early part of the decade featuring a superstar point guard.

The point guard they did go with, Nate Robinson, was good enough and channeled his inner Michael Jordan in the first round series against the Nets. Robinson began the series by coming off the bench but things changed after three games when the Bulls struggled to score even as they’re winning.

In game 4, with the Bulls up two games to one, the Nets led 109-95 with three minutes to go. Then, Nate Robinson caught fire.

Robinson scored 23 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter. He tied Michael Jordan’s record for most points in a quarter in franchise history and helped the Bulls take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Eventually, the Bulls won the series in seven games and Nate Robinson was a hero in Chicago.  Coming into the season, the Nets were expected to be the team to challenge the Miami Heat, but they couldn’t get past the Bulls.

Robinson continued his hot streak in the playoffs, averaging 15 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds in the next series as the Bulls fell 4-1 to the Miami Heat. Despite Chicago missing its starting point guard, Robinson willed the Bulls to many victories throughout the season, including a victory that snapped the second longest winning streak in NBA history. Robinson was great filler for a flawed Bulls team.

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