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Mitchell Robinson solves current and future problems

New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson was the center of attention in the best way possible in Game 1. That’s literally a tall order when Joel Embiid is on the other side.

Game 1 offered Robinson a throwback performance in that he was the center who played the crucial minutes for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden: Robinson continued one of the best relief efforts in metropolitan postseason memory as the hosts went into euphoria and a series of plants. led with a 111-104 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the division rivals’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series opener.

It’s perhaps fitting that Robinson, the longest-tenured Knick, played a crucial role in the opener of the team’s most legitimate championship game in quite some time: The sixth-year New Yorker had 12 rebounds, eight points and four blocks against the opposition. Bank.

In his busiest night since returning from a December ankle injury that cost him 50 games (32 minutes), Robinson also tied a franchise playoff record with seven offensive rebounds off the bench, joining the company of Anthony Mason (1993), Kurt Thomas (1999). ), and Marcus Camby (2000).

Robinson’s biggest impact came, ironically, in a flawed sentence on the box score: The Metropolitan base was draped on reigning MVP Joel Embiid in the final minutes, limited to 0-of-5 from the field in the fourth period, part of a 2-of-11 total in the second half.

“I felt more energetic,” Robinson said, according to Peter Bote of the New York Post. “The crowd helped a lot, home court, their energy helped us a lot, so just went out and played hard. These are the play-offs.”

“It’s a dogfight. You have to go out and play hard. You have to. Like, who wants to go home?”

Robinson was clearly talking about avoiding elimination, but he certainly felt at home in Game 1: It was he who played the crucial minutes, he who painted the paint blue and orange, just as he did last season when the Knicks faced featuring the youthful antics of Evan Mobley in Cleveland.

Even Robinson’s mistakes proved euphoric: When he inexplicably caught an inbounds pass in the final minute that sent his anemic 41 percent success rate to the foul line, he calmly sank two in a display that more or less dashed Philadelphia’s hopes more completely destroyed. It was Robinson’s first perfect night at the free-throw line, where he has attempted at least two since Nov. 30 against Detroit.

“He’s coming back from injury, so I think it’s been tough for him,” said fellow depth star Miles McBride, he with 21 points, according to Chris Iseman of The Bergen Record. “I think he just wanted to go one step further and take on the challenge.”

Robinson’s rebounding and rebounds point to a bright path for the Knicks, not just for this series but for the future as the Knicks’ stars dwindle (he, McBride and Jericho Sims are the only current Knicks with a chance to win ) (a call from the team on draft night), Robinson’s name is often mentioned in mock trades of an amateur and professional nature as New York searches for a star. Despite a relatively spotty injury history (he’s played fewer than 60 games in three of the past four seasons), Robinson certainly had his value at an all-time high, as he was well on his way to both a career-best in rebounding and All-time. Defensive Team award before his injury.

But now that Isaiah Hartenstein has effectively played himself out of the Knicks’ price range thanks to his super-replacement job in Robinson’s absence, New York at least has the security of their trusted big man to get through the foreseeable future, a situation that could very well have can take place. the added firepower of an established star drawn to what’s developing in Manhattan.

For now, it might be best to keep Robinson on the bench: there’s no point throwing away a diamond in the rough on the bench and, unless things get really drastic, they might as well get just as much benefit from the bench. Hartenstein as best he can before his bittersweet free agency process begins. But the Knicks appear set for one of the league’s most underrated x-factors, as Robinson continued to represent the endangered species of a pure center meant to camp under the boards and punch his way to an excellent box score. When the time comes, he will continue to fill that role for the Knicks in a more primary role… unless of course his presence is required in the big trade the team has long sought.

Robinson will get a chance to continue showing his worth Monday night when the Knicks go for a 2-0 lead over the 76ers in the best-of-seven set (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG/TNT).

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