The Miami Warmth appeared headed towards one other loss within the 2023 NBA Finals because the fourth quarter of Sport 2 started. Miami was down eight factors on the street towards the Denver Nuggets, a spot the place no street crew had received to date in these playoffs.
However within the fourth quarter, Duncan Robinson appeared to resolve that the Warmth wouldn’t lose this recreation. For many of the playoffs, the Warmth’s savior has been Jimmy Butler, their boisterous star guard, who averaged 37.6 factors and 6 rebounds within the first spherical towards the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks. Butler constantly taunted and reminded the Bucks that they might not guard him – and even that he owned them – all through that collection.
Robinson, a ahead identified for his three-point capturing prowess, had struggled this season and, at factors, was not taking part in a lot in any respect. On Sunday night time, he scored all 10 of his factors within the fourth quarter, mean-mugging and trash-talking the Nuggets protection within the course of. Robinson’s greatest play got here on a layup across the outstretched arms of the Nuggets ahead Jeff Inexperienced, which prompted a Nuggets timeout and a viral flexing-mean-mugging celebration from Robinson.
“I stunned myself that I pulled one out,” Robinson stated whereas laughing. He added: “That was not premeditated in any respect. It was a spur-of-the-moment factor. Fact be informed, I don’t get plenty of moments within the season to interrupt that one out, so while you get one, you’ve bought to attempt to reap the benefits of it.”
It was the second time in current days that Robinson went viral for taunting his opponents. Within the Warmth’s Sport 7 win over the Boston Celtics within the Japanese Convention Finals, he put a hand to his ear after making a three-pointer that silenced Boston’s raucous crowd.
The taunts have been uncharacteristic for Robinson, who is usually one of many extra reserved gamers on a crew identified for being boastful and brash. However within the Warmth’s final two wins, Robinson has turn into the Warmth’s unlikely agitator, main the Warmth to even the collection at 1-1 after two video games in Denver. However for individuals who know Robinson, he’s merely displaying the world who he’s at all times been.
“Folks don’t understand whether or not we’re taking part in playing cards or ping pong or board video games like he’s actually one of the aggressive folks I do know,” stated Jay Shunnar, who was roommates with Robinson in School on the College of Michigan and a graduate assistant on the basketball crew. “So I feel when his emotion comes out, it doesn’t shock me as a lot as a result of I do know it’s there in his thoughts, though he doesn’t at all times present it.”
Robinson started his faculty profession at Division III Williams School in 2013 earlier than transferring to the College of Michigan. At Michigan, Robinson flourished as a three-point shooter and helped lead the crew to a nationwide championship look throughout his closing season. Over his three years, Robinson’s coach, John Beilein, stated he solely remembered Robinson ever showboating as soon as.
It was the Elite Eight within the 2018 males’s NCAA event, and Robinson made a three-pointer to offer Michigan a ten-point lead with simply over two minutes remaining. Robinson turned and appeared on the Michigan bench, and Beilein waved and yelled for him to get again on protection. It was a second that Beilein stated was his favourite of Robinson’s profession as a result of “it was so uncommon for him to do.”
“So these celebrations are new; these are new issues,” Beilein stated. “I’m not saying he didn’t trust earlier than. I’m saying he’s by no means proven it like he’s now. And it appears to be like like he’s having fun with taking part in.”
Nonetheless, off the court docket, Robinson’s mates say he has at all times been this fashion.
With the Warmth up 3-0 towards the Celtics within the Japanese Convention Finals, lots of Robinson’s mates went to Miami for Sport 4 in case the Warmth superior to the finals. They taught Robinson find out how to play the cardboard recreation Euchre, which is performed with groups of two. They performed till it was time for Robinson’s pregame nap.
After the Warmth misplaced, Robinson urged his mates to play Euchre once more that night time, so that they performed, and performed, till round 2:30 a.m., regardless of most of them having flights residence early within the morning as a result of Robinson didn’t wish to cease. All through the sport, Shunnar remembers Robinson scolding his taking part in associate for taking part in the unsuitable card even when they received.
The each day problem in navigating Robinson’s competitiveness, Shunnar stated, is his unwillingness to obtain compliments. When Shunnar or one other buddy of their group chat tells Robinson he performed nice, Robinson typically responds by questioning why they didn’t assume he was able to taking part in that method. “It’s like that’s not what I’m saying, dude,’” Shunnar stated whereas laughing. “He’ll be like pissed that all of us are stunned he’s dribbling the ball within the paint.”
He continued: “So the celebrations don’t shock us as a result of we simply understand how aggressive he’s, like, you possibly can’t say nothing to him. Like, if I say, ‘Man, you have been superior final night time,’ he actually will textual content me, ‘Shut up.’ So yeah, that’s simply who he’s, man.”