All He Does is Lin

10 02 2012

If anybody finds a reasonable explanation for what is going on right now in New York, please let me know. I don’t understand. At all.

The New York Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, 92-85. There is only one thing you need to know about this game: Jeremy Lin.

Lin ended tonight’s game with 38 points on 13-23 shooting and dished out seven assists. Not only was this a career-high in points for the young gun, but he showed his ability to play big in crunch time. He had 12 points and two assists in the fourth quarter to close out this win.

To top all of these statistics off, this 23-year-old outdueled Kobe Bryant tonight. Let me repeat what I just said: Jeremy Lin, an undrafted player in his second NBA season with little to no NBA experience, outdid the Black Mamba, the five-time champion, the 15-year veteran, the player with the fifth most points in NBA history. There is no way to justify what is happening to Spike Lee’s favorite team right now.

Prior to tonight’s game against the Lakers, there were plenty of skeptics out there, pointing out how Lin only went up against the Nets, Jazz, and Wizards in his first three games. Even though the Lakers are in the middle of one of their weaker seasons during the Kobe era, they still only give up 90.8 points pr game, putting them as the fourth best defense in the league. Lin faced his first big challenge on national television.

This didn’t scare Lin one bit as he took it to Lakers’ seven footers and Kobe Bryant, who said he hadn’t heard of Jeremy Lin before tonight’s game. No doubt, he knows his name now.

Before Lin was thrust into the Knicks’ rotation, New York had lost 11 of their last 13 games. After his insertion, they now sit on a 4-game winning streak without Anthony or Stoudemire playing in three of those games. During the streak, Lin has averaged 28.5 points and eight assists as he has exploded onto the scene. He has to be in the running for Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

When I posted about Lin earlier this week, I didn’t think he would be able to perform at such a high level for a second game. No one really believed this could keep up and just thought it would be a nice story for the time being.

After two straight elite performances, people starting double checking that this was the same Knicks player that did just as well two nights earlier. It was.

Now lighting up his opponents for four straight games, he stands as the primary story on ESPN.com, YahooSports.com, CBSSports.com, and even other non-sports related websites.

Lin has changed everybody’s mindset about his play. With each successive game Lin plays in, he not only matches his previous level of play but actually plays better. 38 points tonight? Only Monta Ellis, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Tony Parker, Kevin Love, LeMarcus Aldridge and LeBron James have scored more points in a game this season. Other than Ellis, every single one of those players is an all-star this year.

Lin played around six or seven minutes a game before this 4-game run. During that time, the Knicks had serious point guard problems. Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert have been playing solid basketball but that point guard mentality just didn’t seem to be present in their play. They have combined to average a measly 5.8 assists.

When Lin brings the ball up the court, he has (obviously) been scoring a lot but he has also been looking for his teammates and getting them the ball where they are most comfortable with it. Lin reached double-digit assists when the Knicks beat the Wizards – that is something neither Douglas nor Shumpert has been able to accomplish all season long.

How does the Harvard graduate already know when and where to get his teammates the ball so they can be successful? Another question I can’t answer.

How long can Jeremy Lin keep this up?

If Lin does in fact continue to play at this high level or even close to it, this shoots the Knicks right back into serious playoff contention. As I said earlier, New York hasn’t had their top two contributors – Anthony and Stoudemire – during the past three games. His points will come down when these two scorers come back, but if Lin can continue to effectively distribute the ball with their return, Lin will thrive as the point guard in D’Antoni’s system.

One thing I don’t want to see is Baron Davis’s return in mid-Februrary to hinder Lin’s development. I understand the Knicks have been hoping he can bring the team what they need at the 1, but Davis would never be able to match what Lin is doing right now and what he would do the rest of the season with consistent minutes.

No matter what NBA team you support or even if you care about the NBA, you have to dive into this Linsanity. He currently is getting close to the same amount of media-craze as Tim Tebow did this past NFL season. Yet, there is a huge difference between the two players. Tebow has always had the media following him around, making sure they don’t miss anything he does. Prior to this explosion from Lin, you had a better chance of hearing about Sacramento King’s Tyler Honeycutt than #17. (That is Lin’s number by the way.) No one knew or cared what Lin did while he was on the court. Now? Every sports radio station, television show, local newspaper and website out there have come up with their own play-on-words with Jeremy Lin’s last name.

Simply for the good of the NBA as an association, I hope this kid has what it takes to play an integral role down the stretch for New York. I don’t expect him to put up 28 points and eight assists every night, especially when ‘Melo and STAT come back, but his efficiency doesn’t have to change. This could possibly turn into the story of the year – more than the Heat, more than Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, more than the Thunder’s two all-stars, even more than the Knicks themselves. Mark my words, before you can say Jeremy Shu-How Lin, there will be YouTube videos of people not only Tebowing and Bradying but also people Linning. They will be #linning. Just wait.

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2 responses

14 03 2012
D’Antoni is D’one « jay's jems

[…] and had the nation quickly buying into their success. D’Antoni was off the hot seat as the media praised his “system” that Lin […]

11 02 2012
Anonymous

Great article. Mike W

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