Mitchell Robinson’s career night against Bucks comes with high praise: ‘Phenomenal’
Mitchell Robinson denied he was complaining about his limited offensive role. And on Wednesday night, he played that role to absolute perfection.
Just ask Mike Budenholzer.
“That was one of the more impressive efforts I’ve seen from an individual on the offensive boards. He was relentless,” the Bucks coach said after his team squeaked by the Knicks at MSG, 109-103. “His size, we needed people to help more, we needed more gang rebounding, we were not good enough on the boards. Again, we found a way to win, but Robinson was phenomenal.”
In the early morning Wednesday, Robinson tweeted that the Knicks’ system is not set up for him to run plays. It was an accurate assessment but, given Robinson’s history of publicly yearning for more opportunities, it was easy to interpret as a passive-aggressive grievance about his confinement to the paint.
Robinson then dominated that paint Wednesday night with 20 rebounds — including a career-high 11 offensive boards — while scoring 15 points exclusively in the restricted area and fouling out Giannis Antetokounmpo on a putback attempt.
“That’s solid. That’s valid. That’s not bad,” Robinson said. “After the last time we played the [Bucks], I had to come out with a different mindset. Last time we played them, I almost fouled out and I wasn’t myself. I had to learn from my mistake last game and I brought it to this game.”
Antetokounmpo was typically fantastic with 37 points but acknowledged that Robinson represented a conundrum. The issue for Antetokounmpo was contesting drives from Brunson and Barrett, leaving Brook Lopez alone underneath to get dominated by Robinson for rebounds..
“Mitchell Robinson is so effective, he’s so big, 7-1, 7-2, he’s able to get the offensive rebound,” Antetokounmpo said. “He’s almost under there by himself. You’re in a hard position and at the end of the day you don’t want to suck in so much that you leave open 3s, corner 3s. So you have to deal with it by yourself and today he was able to get a lot of offensive rebounds on me, Brook, Bobby [Portis], but it’s basketball. You have to live with it. You cannot stop it. That’s what he’s good at, and the way we play defense we have to take care of the pick-and-roll and make the ball handler shoot the tough shot, so he’s right behind you and he’s 7-2. The chance of him getting the rebound is very high.”
Wednesday was part of an upward trend from Robinson, who has three consecutive strong outings as he recovers from last month’s knee sprain. Still, his tweet from Wednesday morning — which was in response to a suggestion that he practice post-up moves with Amar’e Stoudemire — left the impression he isn’t satisfied.
He pushed back on that.
“If I was unhappy, I wouldn’t have did what I came out here and did [Wednesday] and the last game?” Robinson said. “I would’ve just chilled out and just, ‘Oh well.’”