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The “Linsanity” that has taken the Knicks, New York, and the NBA by storm sounds like something out of a movie. The underdog who no one gave a shot finally gets it and doesn’t disappoint. It is of course normal for people to be skeptical – how many times have we seen someone take everyone by surprise only to plummet back to Earth, never able to recapture the run they had. However, Jeremy Lin is not one of these stories; he is the real deal.
Lin has single handedly saved Mike D’Antoni’s job and the Knicks’ season in a five game span. Add to that, he’s doing it with a roster missing All-Stars Amare Stoudemire (family death) and Carmelo Anthony (injured groin), making things even more amazing.
He’s been doing this all week with a starting lineup that consisted of Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Jared Jeffries, and Tyson Chandler. He’s turned Steve Novak, who has been buried on the Knicks bench all season, into a legitimate bench scoring threat, finding him open for threes multiple times a game.
Lin was exactly what the Knicks needed and hoped Baron Davis could be when he returned. A true point guard. During this five game win streak, Lin has been breaking down defenses with his dribble and quickness, shown a very good ability to run the pick and roll, as well as proven that he can knock down jumpers if left open.
Take a look at his numbers over the Knicks’ longest win streak this season. Lin is averaging 26.8 points on 53% shooting, eight assists, 4.2 rebounds, two steals. Impressive numbers for anyone over a five game stretch, but what’s more impressive is who he has done it against.
Lin has squared off against Deron Williams, Devin Harris, John Wall, Derek Fisher, and Ricky Rubio. We are talking about a bonafide superstar, the prospect traded for that superstar, a number one pick, a good defensive veteran, and this years leading candidate for rookie of the year. While in the case of Wall and Williams, they don’t exactly have the interior that would scare anybody, the other three have extremely formidable front-courts which still couldn’t prevent Lin’s penetration.
Lin has scored more points in his first four starts than anyone else since the merger back in the 70s. That means more than Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and yes, even LeBron James.
While the Knicks won’t need Lin to keep carrying the scoring load once Stoudemire and Anthony return, what they will need is for him to control the offense and continue to find the open man in their spots. What his scoring ability will do is open the offensive end up even more as defenses will have to respect that ability.
It has only been five games and four starts into the “Lincredible” streak, but if you watch the way Lin plays you know that the kid is the real deal. Even against Rubio who gave Lin a hard time defensively all night, he was still able to run the pick and roll and find the open man.
At the end of the game, when it mattered most, Lin was able to find a wide open Novak for the game tying three, and then use his quickness to draw a foul and hit the go-ahead foul shot to seal the game.
A sign of a good player, especially the point guard, is the ability to elevate the play of not only himself, but his teammates as well and Lin has exceeded this on every level imaginable. Lin was said to have been watching video in the locker room at halftime during a game because he was upset with his inability to get as many alley-oops to Chandler. No one could have expected this and no one saw it coming but the Knicks have potentially stumbled onto something great.
They will continue to ride this out for as long as it lasts, which looks like could be quite a long time. One thing definitely is for sure though, things in New York have gotten “Linsane” and this team and fan base have gotten a much need injection of excitement.
It has been quite some time Knicks fans, but it now looks like you have a team that can make some noise in the playoffs, and an underdog rising star whom you can rally around. It’s official New York, you have a true point guard and a basketball team worth watching so enjoy it.
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