Saturday, May 28, 2022

‘It’s been a challenge’ but the Heat’s Duncan Robinson makes sure he stays prepared

This was where Duncan Robinson was expected to be. On the court at Wells Fargo Center. At the heart of the NBA playoff schedule. In full sweat. Shooting, passing, scoring.

And yet it could not have happened in any way the fourth-year Miami Heat guard could possibly have envisioned his spot in May 2022.

The work came on Saturday afternoon, between Games 3 and 4 of the Heat’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers, long after Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler exited the building, standing empty, after practice had ended.

Instead of being with Butler, Lowry, or even other rotation players, it was Robinson who was in action three-on-three with Javonte Smart, Mychal Mulder, Haywood Highsmith, Omar Yurtseven, and Caleb Martin.

After he was out of rotation, it was just a matter of taking whatever work he could find.

Even if it means going head-to-head against Yurtseven in this tentative 3-on-3 matchup, defending in the post against a center.

“Just to be in shape, it’s good to be sure,” Robinson said ahead of the Heat’s Sunday Night Game 4 meeting in a best-of-seven series with 76. “Just to keep it fresh, keep it going.”

As with almost everything, 3-on-3 was hardly a smooth competition, with coach Eric Spoelstra and assistants Chris Quinn and Karen Butler watching.

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But, no, it was what neither Robinson nor the Heat signed up to when Robinson signed a five-year, $90 million contract in August, kicking off two of the franchise’s most dynamic 3-point seasons in 34 years. was coming.

But with Max Strauss inserted into the starting lineup in March and Viktor Oladipo earning rotation minutes in the middle of a first-round exit for the Atlanta Hawks, that’s where Robinson stands.

As an outsider when it comes time to play.

“I mean it’s been a challenge,” Robinson told a pair of reporters as he walked out of court, the rest of the media went, “but it comes with the field. It’s part of being a professional. “

As the Heat moved into Game 4, Robinson appeared for just 55 seconds in series, mop-up duty at the end of Game 2’s victory at the FTX Arena.

As for the end of the Game 3 blowout loss? Not even that.

Robinson said of this kind of action, “Do whatever the coach needs me to do.” “He tells me to go in, I go in. He tells me not to go in, I don’t go in.”

Otherwise, Robinson finds himself in the same mode as Yurtseven, Highsmith, Smart and Mulder on game nights, greeting players in the midcourt as they hit the bench during breaks, or offering encouragement as their In the absence the game continues.

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“I’m on the court, my job is to play basketball to the best of my ability, help us win,” he said. “If I’m not on the court, help us win. If he’s a supportive teammate, that’s what I do.”

On Saturday, he and Martin were the last two players off the court after practice, each in and out of the rotation as supplementary players.

No, not as Robinson envisioned in August, but still part of a journey that led first to his NCAA Division III roots and then to his unexpected NBA success as an unapologetic free agent.

So, yes, he’s been here before.

“I mean, I didn’t play much in high school, so maybe then,” he said last in his basketball career, adding that game nights offered no assurance of play time. “I was spread out in Michigan” [with the Wolverines] Even when I didn’t play.”

As for his best timing, as recently as the first game of the first round, when he pulled out eight 3-pointers against the Hawks and scored 27 points off the bench, it became a matter of taking on anything that came his way. happened.

“I mean it’s part of being a professional,” he said, “part of my job.”

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Nation World News Desk
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