Robinson rises to occasion vs. LeBron

Nate Robinson had 17 points, seven assists and one unlikely block of LeBron James in Game 3. Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO – Nate Robinson managed to run down LeBron James on a fast break Friday night, it’s just that the Chicago Bulls couldn’t track down the Miami Heat.

Robinson appeared to give the Bulls the energy they might need to overcome the Heat for a second time in the series when he came from behind to block a James layup attempt in the third quarter.

It failed to resonate, though, as the Heat pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 104-94 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

It was the smallest player on the court tracking down the biggest star in the league, but instead of standing as a key moment in the series for the Bulls it withered away like a moment in time. James never even saw Robinson as he moved the ball over his head and was about to put up a layup when the 5-foot-9 guard knocked it away.

What the Bulls ultimately needed more was Robinson to be dynamic on offense like has been at times during the playoffs, but he was held in relative check with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Acting as more of a playmaker than he has at other times in the playoffs he did end up with seven assists.

“For me I think they’re doing a great job of getting the ball to the basket,” Robinson said. “You have to take your hat off to them. They didn’t win the championship for nothing last year. For us, we have to take the challenge and get more stops down the stretch. We have to play together and continue to have fun.”

James’ Heat might have walked away with the victory but Robinson was still swatting away at the league’s MVP long after the game had ended.

Asked if James flopped when he was shoved by Nazr Mohammed in the second quarter, Robinson didn’t skip a beat.

“He probably did,” Robinson said. “You see LeBron in a lot of commercials. There’s a lot of good acting.”