A week ago the Knicks were in a full-blown crisis. Carmelo Anthony was scoring 30 or more points while the Knicks would lose by more than 10. Amar’e didn’t seem to have the same bounce that he had a season ago and all of his numbers were down. The Madison Square Garden faithful were even heard booming cheers of “Fire D’Antoni!” during a couple of embarrassing losses at home. But fast-forward to today, and the Knicks are perfectly fine because they have Jeremy Lin, right? Isn’t he the savior that we’ve all envisioned?
Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but one thing Lin brings to the table is something new. Carmelo has looked anything but inspired, and the defense has been haphazard throughout the entire season. Lin has somehow rejuvenated the New York fan base and has aroused a more enthusiastic attitude surrounding the season. But who is Jeremy Lin?
Lin is the first American-born player of Chinese descent in the NBA. He is a second year player after going undrafted out of Harvard. He played 29 games with the Golden State Warriors last year before being cut after the lockout. Since being called up from the Knicks’ D-League team, he hadn’t seen any playing time until last Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Nets. In the third quarter, Lin finally had his number called and he has yet to look back. It didn’t take much time under the lights of MSG to shake off the cobwebs. By the time the final buzzer went off, Lin had put up 25 points and 7 assists, leading the Knicks to a seven-point victory. Not bad for the Knicks’ fourth starting point guard this season.
Lin started the following game against the Utah Jazz playing in all but three minutes. He beat his production from the previous game but, most importantly, he started a Knicks winning streak of two games, somewhat of a rarity for the team these days.
Even with all of this excitement from Jeremy Lin, the Knicks are not out of harm’s way yet. Coach D’Antoni is still under fire for his failure to live up to the hype and effectively use all of the talent that is at his disposal. His high tempo offensive style has been able to put up points, but a lack of a true point guard has left Amar’e almost useless. Carmelo tends to take the ball up the court with no enthusiasm, will most likely not pass and will proceed to pull up from 16 feet without the ball ever changing hands. The Knicks can’t win with such a lack of creativity and a nonchalant attitude from the team as a whole.
To add to the laundry list of problems for the Knicks, Carmelo has been diagnosed with a strained groin. His one-to-two week span on the bench also happens to coincide with a Stoudemire family tragedy. On Monday, Amar’e found out that his older brother had been killed in a car crash. It hasn’t been established how long he will be away from the team but it doesn’t seem probable that he will be on the court until after this weekend. That leaves the Knicks without their two best players for at least the next four games, and at most nine.
All of this recent excitement could be quickly extinguished with the absence of Carmelo and Amar’e. Or, the Knicks’ success might just ride on the right hand of a man named Jeremy Lin.
Contact Macklin Woodruff at [email protected]