THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Robinson a reserve who deserved credit

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / January 13, 2011

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Nate Robinson produced most of his numbers in the meaningless fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 119-95 win over Sacramento last night at the Garden. But Robinson’s most important contribution might have been an injection of energy in a seven-minute first-half stint.

Robinson totaled 16 points, scoring 10 in a final quarter that was as superfluous as a preseason game. Robinson’s brief run with the result still in doubt not only gave Rajon Rondo a rest, it provided a spark to a team that had lost two straight.

“Little Nate played good, shooting the ball real well,’’ Marquis Daniels said. “Nate’s doing real good, he’s just got to stay focused and stay hungry when you get out there and stay aggressive on offense. Regardless who we’re playing, especially a team that may not be over .500, there can be lack of effort out there, and you’ve got to have somebody out there with high energy and Nate was it.’’

Said Robinson: “Every game you’ve got to be fired up. You’ve just got to go out there — the main objective is to win and we try to do that every night. We had a couple letdowns but we just focused on playing great defense and having fun, and we did that.’’

The Celtics were holding a 33-31 lead early in the second quarter when the reserves got things moving. Semih Erden converted two foul shots, then dunked in transition, followed by a Robinson fast-break 3-pointer. In a 40-second span, the Celtics’ lead had increased to 9 points.

There were some letdowns and misplays after that, but when the starters returned, the Celtics still had the lead, and early in the second half they turned the game into a rout.

“You’ve got to play,’’ Robinson said. “I mean, the game is fun, that’s how you’ve got to play every night — just got to play with a lot of energy and just be yourself and I think everything else will just fall into place. Just continue to pick it up on defense. We’ve been lacking the last couple games, and rebounding was a talking point, as well.

“I think as a team we dug down deep and it was like you know what, we’ve got to rebound, get stops, and then we run. And we did that and we got a lot of easy buckets.’’

The bench was able to stay in control in the final quarter, allowing the starters to rest.

“They tease us about that all the time,’’ Robinson said. “They tease the bench. They say, come on now, we don’t want to play the rest of the fourth, so we can get a little bit of rest. The bench, we try to go in every night and bring energy and play hard, take some of the slack off the starting five, because they do a tremendous job every night. The bench, we’ve got to be there, not just [last night] but every night. I think that if we continue to do that I think we’ll be a hell of a team.’’

After losses at Chicago (90-79) and against Houston (108-102), a matchup with the Kings was a relief.

“It just happens, games like this you just play,’’ Robinson said. “We were out there just playing and the ball found the guy that was hot and we just took advantage.

“We just turn the page, keep moving forward. We don’t harp on the past, that’s something . . . hopefully we continue to do.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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