Celtics

How Heat's Duncan Robinson went from cool local story to 'elite' NBA shooter

How Heat's Duncan Robinson went from cool local story to 'elite' NBA shooter

BOSTON -- Just playing at TD Garden would have been a fitting end to Duncan Robinson's story.

The Miami Heat forward was born in York, Maine, and grew up in New Castle, N.H. (Population: 979.) He was one of four children -- yes, four -- to graduate 6th grade at his local elementary school.

He accepted a (non-scholarship) offer to play at Williams College, a tiny Division III school in Western Massachusetts with exactly zero NBA alumni.

Robinson wasn't expected to change that.

Then Williams' head coach, Mike Maker, left after Robinson's freshman year, and as a favor put in him touch with then-Michigan head coach John Beilein, who had employed Maker as an assistant at West Virginia.

Beilein was impressed with Robinson's silky shooting stroke, and by 2015, the gangly New Englander was playing in front of 13,751 fans at a Big 10 powerhouse.

Robinson went undrafted out of Michigan in 2018 but latched on with Miami's Summer League team, earning a two-way contract with the Heat in July.

The Heat began the 2018-19 season with four injured players, and on Oct. 24, Robinson got the call-up, becoming the second Maine native ever to play in an NBA game.

End of story, right?

Not quite. Turns out Robinson is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA.

 

Just ask Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens:

"He's always been a ridiculously elite shooter. ... All the time, you have to be aware of him."

Or Heat forward Justise Winslow, who's been played with the likes of Joe Johnson, Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler and insists none can shoot like Robinson:

"I’ve just never seen somebody with as pure of a shot as his, to be honest. ... He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with."

Or Mike Crotty, Robinson's former AAU coach with the Middlesex Magic, who's worked with Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton and says the same thing:

"His shot should be in the dictionary. It’s that pretty."

So, those who know Robinson maybe aren't as surprised he's now an every-night starter for the Heat, averaging 11.2 points per game while making 2.9 3-pointers per contest, tied for 13th in the NBA as of Wednesday.

"I feel like I'm capable of playing at this level," Robinson told NBC Sports Boston before Wednesday's game. "I’ve always believed that. Sometimes it just takes getting an opportunity."

Robinson's opportunity is unique: He's believed to be the first Division III transfer to earn a Division I scholarship and is the first Division III player to reach the NBA since Devean George in 1999.

But the 25-year-old isn't just some answer to a trivia question. 

After scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in Wednesday's loss to the Celtics -- his fifth consecutive game with 10 points or more -- Robinson is on his way to becoming a household name in Miami.

"You’ve got to get to the point where you know you belong in the league," Winslow added of Robinson. "We saw glimpses of it last year. But this year, his confidence is on a whole different level."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Magic odds: Best NBA picks with C's as surprising underdogs

Celtics vs. Magic odds: Best NBA picks with C's as surprising underdogs

The sportsbooks apparently aren't putting much stock into the NBA standings for the Boston Celtics' matchup with the Orlando Magic.

The Celtics are listed as 1.5-point underdogs for Friday's game against the Magic despite Orlando entering with a 21-24 record, nine games behind the 29-14 C's.

Boston won't look like the same team that blew out the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, though. Jayson Tatum and Enes Kanter already have been ruled out with injuries, while Jaylen Brown is questionable as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

Do those injuries give the Magic an edge, or will the Celtics prove the sportsbooks wrong by notching their third consecutive win?

Below are our betting predictions for Celtics-Magic, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Celtics have lost four of their last five games to Orlando, which may also explain why they're underdogs. But the Magic have dropped three of four, while Boston rolled without Brown on Wednesday night. I'll take the money on the Celtics (+105).

Point Spread: The beauty of these Celtics (+1.5) is that Tatum and Brown's absence just means more opportunities for Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart. Boston has covered in five of its last seven games despite dealing with several injuries and should get the job done here.

Point Total: The over is tempting considering the Celtics are averaging 126 points over their last four games. But they may have to win ugly here against a Magic team that plays at the third-slowest pace in the NBA. Give me the UNDER on the 212.5 point total

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 60-35-1 (62.5% success rate)

NBA Locks of the Night

Memphis Grizzlies (-1) at Detroit Pistons: The Grizzlies had won seven of eight before the Celtics trounced them Wednesday. They get back on track against a Pistons team that's played just one of its last eight games against a team above .500 -- and gone 4-4 in that span.

Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans (-4): Even if Zion Williamson doesn't hit four 3-pointers, his presence should energize the Pelicans at home against a Nuggets team missing four key rotation players.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 32-31-1 (50% success rate)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

2020 NBA All-Star Game jerseys revealed: Here's what Celtics will wear

2020 NBA All-Star Game jerseys revealed: Here's what Celtics will wear

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game starters were announced Thursday night and Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker was among the selections, and now we also know what they'll be wearing in Chicago.

The All-Star jerseys have been revealed, and Jordan Brand did a pretty good job on the design.

Check them out in the tweet below:

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

NBA All-Star jerseys have featured many different designs over the years, and some of the recent ones have been disappointing, so it's nice to see the league return to a classic red/blue color scheme. 

The All-Star question for the Celtics is if Walker be joined by teammates Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown in Chicago.

Both of Boston's young stars finished in the top 10 of All-Star starter fan voting in their respective position groups, but their fates now rest in the hands of Eastern Conferences coaches, who will vote on the All-Star reserves. The reserves will be announced Thursday, Jan. 24 on TNT.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.