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Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 6, 2010 07:30 PM

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betternate.JPG... where Nate Robinson will play.

"I don't know about inspirational or sentimental," Rivers said. "But I'm going to play him because the other guys want to see him play tonight. So I'm going to give him some run and hoepfully he plays well."

Doc Rivers isn't into token starts, but with Robinson returning to Madison Square Garden for the first time, he said he'd put the popular ex-Knick back on the floor after sitting him all for 48 minutes of the Celtics win over Cleveland. Rivers has gone to Tony Allen and Michael Finley, dropping Robinson and Marquis Daniels in the rotation.

Robinson's been up and down since being dealt to Boston in a trade deadline deal that for Eddie House and "spare parts" Marcus Landry, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker, who's made a fan out of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. Robinson still has to get a grip on the Celtics defense with trying to be himself inside the offense.

In shootaround this morning, Robinson sounded upbeat about his return and also optimistic about his role in the future.

"This is what I knew," Robinson said of New York. "This is where I was drafted, so it's always good to come home and play.The fans here are great. They've been behind the Knicks players for years, especially the guys that play hard and play with passion and play with their heart on their sleeve, which I did. So it's going to be really interesting to see exactly how they welcome me back home, but it's all love. Now, I'm a Celtics and regardless of what love they give, I'm here to win."

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