Last night’s triple overtime classic at the United Center was a throwback to the 90’s. Not only did the teams combine to score a staggering 276 points, but there was fight where neither player was ejected. And there’s just something about that court in Chicago that screams 1994. Maybe it’s the logo. Either way, I’m surprised they didn’t blast The Spice Girls during timeouts.
Then Nate Robinson, who scored a very Jordan-esque 29 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, made this comparison in the post game press conference while wearing a backpack (another 90’s reference, if you ask me):
‘I always think I’m on fire.’ Kind of like the old-school game NBA Jam. You make a couple, the rim’s on fire. When you shoot the ball, the ball’s on fire. I feel like that at times-well, all the time-whenever I’m in the game.
If that comes as a surprise to anyone, it shouldn’t. For two reasons. First of all, Nate Robinson loves video games. Second, and more importantly, Nate Rob has always played basketball like it was a video game. Remember that time he blocked Yao Ming? He plays as if there are no consequences, or as they call it, “reckless abandon.” Remember the time he jumped over Paul Pierce after a game winner vs. the Knicks and landed on his head? I rest my case.
He does things that really only happen in video games — and last night was a prime example. They might as well have broadcast the game in 16-bits. You know when you’re playing against your buddy and he starts hitting every shot from increasingly improbable distances with the same player? Or when he dunks with John Stockton? Or routinely converts runners from just inside the three-point line? Or keeps grabbing boards with a pint-sized bench player?
“This is ridiculous,” you’d say. Not in the “awesome” kind of way, but using the actual definition of the word.
Then you miss a wide open dunk with a totally capable player. “I fugging quit.”
That’s basically what Nate Robinson did last night to the Brooklyn Nets, and vice versa (see C.J. Watson’s epic missed dunk below.) Nate Robinson was on fire, helping create one of the greatest playoffs games in Bulls history, sans superstar. But just like a video game, when it’s over he resets, as if it never happened. Watch C.J. Watson blow the easiest dunk in history, by 6’2″ NBA athlete standards anyway, igniting an epic Bulls comeback from down 14 with 3 minutes left.
Though Watson and Robinson were having nights on either end of the video game spectrum, they united for one heartfelt moment at half court, where they locked arms and grappled into the scorer’s table. Undoubtedly an homage to WCW vs. NWO or Streets of Rage. Keep pressing B as fast as you can guys, that’s the only way to get out of the hold!
Photo of Nate Rob’s head via Getty