The only shots Nate Robinson fears are those at the doctor’s office.
More often than not this season, the veteran guard has risen to the occasion, giving the Bulls much-needed offense and shifting the momentum of the game in their favor.
[WATCH: Short-handed Bulls rise to the occasion again in win over Magic]
A night after scoring the go-ahead basket in Thursday night’s victory in Brooklyn and on the tail end of a five-games-in-seven-nights stand, there was Robinson keying a fourth quarter run after the Bulls entered the period down 70-66.
It’s hard to single him out as the reason the Bulls were able to overcome tired legs for a 87-86 win over the Orlando Magic -- Nazr Mohammed and Vladimir Radmanovic also made key contributions in the fourth quarter –- but without 12 of his team-high 19 points coming in the final period (including scoring 10 of the team’s first 13), it’s easy to believe that the final score would be in the opposition's favor.
[RELATED: Bulls beating the odds becoming par for the course]
“Exciting,” responded Jimmy Butler when asked to describe Robinson’s game. “When you need a basket, he can go and get you one. If you need a stop, he can get you one. If you need a yelling, over-emotional short guy, he can do that, too. Nate is key to this team. The offense that he brings and the way he can easily shift the momentum of the game. I think that’s a big part on any team and Nate’s that for us.
“As many guys as we’re down, you need all the energy that you can get to pick you up whenever you’re tired.”
When he gets rolling, it’s a sight to see for fans as well as teammates.
[More: Submit a question to Aggrey Sam's mailbag]
“It’s basically get back on defense because he’s shooting this ball, no matter what,” Butler said. “Don’t let him make two in a row because he comes across halfcourt and he’s shooting that. We know that. That’s Nate. When he’s hot, he’s hot. I think everybody in the league knows that.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau has often referred to Robinson as a catalyst and for the second night in a row, the ball found its way in his hands with the game on the line. While he did miss a jumper with 24 seconds remaining that would have made it a three-point ballgame, it speaks volumes about the trust Thibodeau and his teammates have in him in that the ball has been in his hands during so many crucial moments this season.
[WATCH: Thibodeau praises his team's effort]
Whether miss or make, there’s not another situation Robinson lives for more.
“I’m not afraid to fail,” Robinson said. “You’re going to have to fail a lot to succeed in this game. You just can’t be afraid to take that shot and you can’t be afraid to make or miss it.
“That’s something that my father installed in me when I was young – just never be afraid to fail or succeed.
“I just bring energy however it comes,” he continued. “I just play the game the best way I know how. Some nights, I do pretty well and some nights I don’t. But you have to take the good with the bad. I’m going to play through it, play as hard as I can for as long as I can.”