PORTLAND, ORE., JUNE 11 -- The "Uncle Cliffy" is a dance. Cliff Robinson is a forward for the Portland Trail Blazers. He would like for the two entities to remain separate.

"Leave that Uncle Cliffy alone, please," Robinson asked today. "I shouldn't have even started it. Everybody's trying to take the fact that I've been doing the Uncle Cliffy out of context. I'm here to play basketball."

It had been Robinson's misfortune until Game 4 of these NBA Finals that his main contribution had been his celebratory dance, which was becoming a cult classic in this town. His game was the novelty.

But Wednesday, Robinson was right in the middle of the Trail Blazers' come-from-behind 93-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls, which tied this series at two games apiece going into Game 5 here Friday.

It has been a strange first four games. Even the unusual Chicago-Cleveland Eastern Conference finals series was consistent in its inconsistency from one game to another. At least one of the two teams played well.

In these finals, save the Bulls' Game 1 performance, both teams have struggled with things they usually master.

Chicago, which closes out games better than anyone in the league, has blown two in the last four minutes. And Portland's fast break has been taken away, leaving the Trail Blazers in a half-court lurch, seemingly unable to execute even simple plays.

"Some series take on some type of meaning," Portland guard Terry Porter said. "It's really hard to pinpoint where this series is going to go. But both teams seem to rely a lot on their defense."

That's how Portland won Game 4, using its smaller, quicker lineup. Jerome Kersey moved from small to power forward, and guard Danny Ainge played small forward, where he guarded Scottie Pippen.

Robinson, the third-year forward from Connecticut who was at center in the fourth quarter, scored 17 points and had seven rebounds in 27 minutes. Kersey scored 21 points. And the Blazers showed why their frontcourt is at times so very unorthodox.

Veteran Buck Williams is the only member of Portland's group that is easily defined. He is a pure power forward, a banger and a rebounder who doesn't shoot outside of the paint.

Center Kevin Duckworth is a big enough low-post target, but is more comfortable facing the basket and shooting jump shots. At 6 feet 7, Kersey often leads the Blazers in rebounding (and jumps center), but is also needed to fill the lanes in Portland's fast break.

When Portland wants to play half-court, it normally goes with Williams and Duckworth. The Blazers frequently try to get Duckworth going early, but when they want to change things, they can bring in 6-10 Robinson to play any of the three frontcourt positions.

He is known more as a fast-break finisher, yet he got going Wednesday by hitting the perimeter jumpers the Bulls gave him.

"If he plays well, it gives them a totally different look to their game," Bulls Coach Phil Jackson said. "They really can do a lot of different things with their lineup. They can play him {anywhere in the frontcourt}. They will play Kersey a little bit on the floor and make their speed better and ball movement better."

"Cliff is very agile," Kersey said. "When he comes in he can shoot the ball from the outside and he can go to the basket and rebound, so that gives you a different look than, say, Buck, who is not really going to take the outside jump shots. He's going to go to the boards."

Robinson "can come in and play any of the three frontline positions," Kersey added. "And that moves people around. I was at power forward and Cliff was center. If you're going to play your center there, we've got an advantage."

The Bulls gave Portland credit for scrambling the game. The Blazers double-teamed Michael Jordan, forcing the ball out of his hands, and their smaller unit was able to rotate to the open man much quicker than if Williams or Duckworth had been in the game.

But Chicago thinks it can exploit Robinson when he plays center, or Ainge at small forward. ("Let them keep doing it," one Bulls person said today. "We'll pick them apart.")

"When we play Bulls basketball," forward Horace Grant said, the Blazers' small lineup "plays right into our hands."

Said Jordan: "We have to make an adjustment, and the focal point of our adjustment is {center} Bill Cartwright. If we can capitalize on his ability to post up Cliff Robinson and rely on our defense to help out Bill whenever he's on the perimeter against Cliff, that makes our situation a little bit better."

To which Robinson replied, "If they feel they can exploit it, let them try. I'm in there to compete. If they want to give it to {Cartwright}, bring it. I'm going to do my best to stop him."

But even Portland Coach Rick Adelman acknowledges that the small lineup is best utilized in limited situations.

"I don't know if you can do it for a long period of time," Adelman said. "We've been doing it the whole series. The only difference {in Game 4} was that Cliff and Jerome were on the floor at the same time with them. . . . That's a pretty difficult lineup to guard. With Jerome and Cliff out there, their big people have to be active if they're going to guard them."