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How Nate Robinson hurts the Celtics

Nate Robinson Marquis Daniels

Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson (4) celebrates his three-pointer with teammate Marquis Daniels , rear, against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. Robinson started in place of Rajon Rondo, who sprained his ankle in a game against the Knicks on Wednesday night. The Celtics beat the Hawks 102-90. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


It was clear at the end of the Celtics Christmas Day loss to Orlando how much Boston misses Rajon Rondo.

In a tight game late, the Celtics were not getting the shots they wanted (and missed the couple they did get). Part of that was Orlando’s defense, which pushes you out of your comfort zones, but in the face of that pressure Nate Robinson is not a traditional, run-the-offense kind of point guard. Setting up others is not his gift. So the Celtics looked disjointed.

Doc Rivers admitted as much to the Boston Globe.

“What it does for us, it takes away about 70 percent of our offense because Rondo’s so good at running our sets,’’ said Rivers.

“If you’ve noticed, I’m up more now, because I have to call almost all of (the plays) now, which I never want to do. You want your point guard to have such a grasp of the offense that you’re running in transition, you’re running right into your sets.

“With Nate, he just doesn’t have that grasp. That’s just not who he is, really.’’

Nate is a gunner, a scorer. And that’s a nice thing to have off the bench, a guy who will come in fearless and start firing away. A guy who can change the dynamics of a game that way.

But the Celtics sorely miss a guy who can just run their sets, get the looks for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that they like. Not having that may cost them some games in the coming weeks.