Issue 8: How the Smallest Guy on the Court Dominated This Playoff Game

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Issue 8: How the Smallest Guy on the Court Won This Playoff Game

Today’s email is part of our “Remember That Game?” series. If you remember it, I hope it brings a bout of nostalgia for you. And if you don’t remember it, well…buckle up and let’s ride!

Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets — April 27, 2013

One of the funny things about sports is that, even with multiple quarters, innings, and hours of gameplay, we can still point to one moment that changes everything.

A batter hits a home run and ignites a big inning. A linebacker forces a sack and gives the home team a chance to win. A point guard misses an uncontested dunk, allowing the other team to come back from down 14 points with three minutes remaining.

Wait, what?!

Fans tuning into Game 4 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Playoffs series between the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets saw a back-and-forth battle until the Nets took control in the second half. It looked like they were about to even the series up at 2-2.

Then former Bull CJ Watson caught the ball on a breakaway and…

CJ Watson Dunk Gif

Well, he did what I would do if I were to try dunking a basketball.

At the time, it might not have seemed like a big deal. Watson even got his own rebound, and the Bulls fouled Nets big man Reggie Evans a few seconds later.

But that game-changing moment had already happened. Evans, a poor free-throw shooter, missed both foul shots.

The Bulls got the rebound and then Nate Robinson—all 5 feet, 9 inches of him—took over.

First, he hit a three-pointer. Then he squeezed in between two Nets players and finished a fancy layup over 7-footer and noted Disney enthusiast Brook Lopez.

He followed that nifty shot up with a floater at the free-throw line. It was the second time in as many possessions that Robinson ended up on the ground, but he hopped right back up. He still had work to do.

Robinson scored 12 points in a row after Watson’s missed dunk. And he capped off the comeback with a pass to teammate Carlos Boozer, who once got so excited celebrating a basket that he accidentally punched referee Danny Crawford in the groin.

There was no such violence here, though. Just a spectacular show from Nate Robinson.

He was shooting three-pointers, slashing into the lane, and doing everything he could to keep the Bulls in the game.

When all was said and done, Robinson had finished with 34 points. The Bulls wrapped up a 142-134 victory in triple overtime.

Here’s a look at Robinson’s highlights from the game.

NBA Barbershop

Hairstyles of the NBA Bubble

Thanks to Crisp Bounce Pass reader Patrick for this suggestion: the NBA bubble has shown which players have been loyal to their barbers.

Take, for instance, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who came to the bubble with a fresh cut. It’s the first time he’s changed his hairstyle since entering the league, and he did it in STYLE.

Lonnie Walker of the Spurs also shaved his head before coming to the bubble. Walker had let his hair grow since fifth grade, which he said was “a cloaking device” to try and hide the pain of being sexually abused as a child.

Walker hopes by sharing his experience he can let other victims know they’re not alone. It’s an admirable and courageous move.

Other players are taking advantage of the NBA’s resources to get a touch up while in the bubble. The league chose six barbers, three stylists, and three manicurists that are staying onsite.

These players have Lakers guard Rajon Rondo to thank. When he heard about the bubble plan, he reached out to National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts to chat about hair. And a bubble barbershop was born.

“Part of the NBA is style, it’s swag, it’s charisma,” Rondo told ESPN. “I’ve always been taught, when you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you play good — that type of thing. And barbers are a central part of our NBA players’ appearance.”

Rondo’s got a point. After all, some players could be down here for another three months—they can’t have hair blocking their eyes when the game is on the line.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!