Originally created 01/17/04

Robinson sparks Warriors with sensational shooting



OAKLAND, Calif. -- Clifford Robinson isn't sure what all the fuss is about - he's always been a legitimate 3-point threat.

But he's been making so many of them lately, that he has been forced to detail his shooting touch night after night.

The 37-year-old Golden State forward keeps pointing to his more than 1,000 career 3-pointers, and his latest success really shouldn't come as a big surprise.

"I am going to have some good nights shooting the ball," he said after making a career-high seven 3s in eight attempts for a season-high 35 points on Thursday night in a win over Cleveland.

"I think it's just being aggressive and not worrying about the fact that I was going through a tough stretch shooting the ball and trying to stay positive and focused."

Robinson, a well-traveled veteran of four NBA teams who's often been known more for his defense, is shooting 45-for-119 from long range this season - but he'd made 16 of his last 24 (66 percent) over a four-game span heading into Friday night's game in Phoenix.

And Robinson averaged 25.3 points and 53.1-percent shooting during that stretch for the injury-plagued Warriors, who sure need a lift.

"He has done a good job of not only shooting the 3, but he's been getting to the foul line a little bit more," coach Eric Musselman said. "With (Troy) Murphy and (Brian) Cardinal not available, two guys who play the four spot, we really need Cliff to continue to score."

The Warriors acquired the former University of Connecticut star from Detroit in an August trade that sent guard Bobby Sura to the Pistons. Golden State wanted a stable veteran presence, and they got it.

Robinson has emerged as a leader for a team with quite the mix of young and experienced players. Robinson spoke up during the Warriors' recent seven-game losing streak. Then he decided the best thing he could do to help the situation was pick up his game on the court.

Losing has certainly taken getting used to.

Robinson has made the playoffs in all 14 of his seasons in the league, and that may change this year, his 15th. The Warriors have missed the postseason the last nine seasons.

At 6-foot-10, Robinson presents a mismatch on the perimeter for most opponents.

"We have a tough time against Cliff Robinson because our big men aren't used to forwards who can stand out there and shoot the 3," Cavaliers rookie star LeBron James said after Thursday's game.

Yet Robinson wasn't always such a 3-point shooter.

In his first five seasons in the league - all with Portland - he only attempted 204 total 3s. And he made just 51 of those, or 25 percent. Then, in his sixth season with the Trail Blazers, Robinson shot 383 times from long range, the second-most attempts he's had in a season behind the 471 he took the following year.

He has learned how to deal with shooting slumps over the years and he worked himself out of one this season.

"It's a long season, and you know you are going to go through stretches when you're not playing as well as you would like," said Robinson, averaging 12.3 points in 34 minutes. "But as long as you understand the fact that you're going to go through some ups and downs, you will make it out of the bad stretch."