Mitchell Robinson described it as “simply doing my job,” however his suffocating rejection of All-Star MVP Jayson Tatum’s first-quarter dunk try was the defining second of the Knicks’ upset win Monday evening over the Celtics, a victory marked by stifling protection.

The play was one other instance of how Robinson has made an enormous impression at each ends of the courtroom in his first three video games again within the lineup after a layoff of greater than a month following proper thumb surgical procedure on Jan. 19.

The 7-foot middle has posted three consecutive double-doubles, averaging 10.3 factors and 12.7 rebounds, whereas hitting 93.8 p.c (15-for-16) of his field-goal makes an attempt, because the surging Knicks have prolonged their successful streak to 6 video games.

“He’s an elite defender, clearly,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau stated after the win Monday. “The rim safety, even when he’s not blocking [shots], they’re searching for him, and he’s acquired nice self-discipline within the restricted [area].”

“After which offensively, simply creating the additional possessions and doing what he does there, it’s been massive for us.”

Mitchell Robinson blocks Jayson Tatum in the course of the recreation towards the Celtics at Madison Sq. Backyard.
NBAE by way of Getty Photos

The 24-year-old Robinson is tied with the Hawks’ Clint Capela for second within the NBA with 4.2 offensive rebounds per recreation, behind solely the Grizzlies’ Steven Adams (5.1).

Simply the specter of Robinson on the rim, Thibodeau stated, creates higher offensive spacing for 3-point makes an attempt for his teammates.

“Maintain drawing folks in, it opens photographs. It helps us on the offensive finish,” Robinson stated. “That’s what this recreation comes all the way down to. So, get out, run and hopefully anyone … can pull up, shoot the 3s and we’ve got a greater likelihood of getting a second shot, third shot. The extra possessions we get, the higher likelihood we’ve got.”

The Knicks went 8-6 within the 14 video games Robinson missed with the thumb damage.

Second-year middle Jericho Sims crammed in ably because the starter and Isaiah Hartenstein remained with the second unit.

The Knicks are 36-27 total coming into their recreation Wednesday towards the Nets.

They’ve moved a recreation forward of the Nets for the No. 5 playoff place within the Jap Convention.

“We missed Mitch loads, so what he does on protection, his stress on the rim on his rolls, he’s simply an anchor. We missed that,” Immanuel Quickley stated after the win over the Celtics. “He’s been within the league for some time, is aware of the sport. He was there tonight. It was nice to have him.”

Robinson, on Monday, had his thirty eighth profession recreation with a minimum of 10 factors, 10 boards and two blocked photographs.

Mitchell Robinson's dominant return has only added to the Knicks' recent six-game winning streak.
Mitchell Robinson’s dominant return has solely added to the Knicks’ current six-game successful streak.
USA TODAY Sports activities

That’s removed from Patrick Ewing’s membership file of 421 such video games in his profession, but it surely’s solely two behind Kurt Thomas’ 40 for second place in franchise historical past.

“Mitch, since he’s been again, clearly we’re completely satisfied he’s wholesome, however he’s been nice,” Jalen Brunson stated. “He’s been capable of be dominant within the paint on each side of the ball. He offers us that further effort. He’s been unbelievable. I’m simply completely satisfied he’s on our crew.”

Requested about Robinson’s block on Tatum, Brunson added: “He’s somebody that places every part on the road, so once you make a play like that, it’s particular. He’s at all times been like that. I feel even when Tatum dunks it, he’s going to attempt to block it the subsequent time. That’s simply his mindset.”

Robinson, who was signed to a four-year contract value $60 million final summer season, has superior from an intriguing uncooked expertise to an efficient game-impacting participant at each ends in his fifth NBA marketing campaign.

“I feel once you have a look at his physique, the general conditioning, the power mixed along with his conditioning — he’s altering ends of the ground, he’s making multiple-effort performs,” Thibodeau stated. “We’re seeing a ton of pick-and-roll. Most groups are heavy pick-and-roll groups … so most of his performs require two, three, 4 efforts.”

“After which offensively, run the ground, set the screens, roll laborious to the rim. And I feel our guys are doing a greater job now of studying when his man is coming and we’re connecting with that. It’s serving to us to create a lot better rhythm.”