After not receiving even a minute of court time since December 1, New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson returned to action in dramatic fashion Friday, scoring 41 points in a 112-108 overtime road win against the Atlanta Hawks.
Entering the game in the first quarter, Robinson quickly became hot and never cooled off. He played over 38 minutes and shot 18-of-24 (3-of-5 three-pointers) for 41 points, six rebounds and eight assists (four turnovers).
Also for the Knicks, Wilson Chandler had 24 points and played big with 17 rebounds, plus four assists. Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington (just 5-of-16) each scored 13 points. David Lee (just 4-of-14) had a quiet night with 11 points and only seven rebounds.
For the Hawks, Joe Johnson (just 12-of-30) had 28 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. Josh Smith had 24 points and 10 rebounds, with two blocks. Al Horford dominated the middle, shooting 11-of-14 for 22 points and 19 rebounds.
With a season average of 10.9 points and 3.2 assists in 22.0 minutes coming into this game, Robinson has been healthy, but coach D’Antoni simply didn’t want to use him.
Robinson was recently fined by the NBA for comments his agent made, who wanted the player traded if Nate wasn’t going to be used on the court. The penalty is being appealed.
Nate’s always been able to score. The problem D’Antoni has had with him is Nate’s defense and general decision-making on the court.
This was quite a statement in his return.
Speaking to MSG network after the game, Robinson thanked God, Allan Houston and Malik Rose for keeping him ready. He also shouted out Twitter and various friends and family.
“I’m here to stay. I want to play. I want to help this team win. Everything is in the past. 2010, it’s a fresh start,” said Robinson.