Friday, February 24, 2012

Is Linsanity Over?

No. End of blog, that's it.

But really, I'll explain why it's not. Jeremy Lin was awful last night. As one friend texted me during the game, "he looks like a highschooler out there." Eight points, three dimes and eight turnovers on 1-11 shooting. His backup Baron Davis didn't fare much better, making zero out of seven shots with three assists and only one turnover. The Heat are A-the best or second best team in the league right now B-the most dominant home team in the league (15-2) C-the hottest team in the league (eight straight Ws and 11 out of 12) and D-one of the top defensive teams in the league. 

The Heat planned to shut Lin down, make a statement, take the kid's spot at the top of SportsCenter, etc. And they did. Lin hasn't seen a defense that athletic and aggressive yet. Even against the playoff-contending teams the Knicks have beat in this run (Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Utah?), no one has been this stuck to him and been able to shut him down. It was basically the 12th game of his rookie year. Of course he's not going to put up 20 and 10 every single night. That's crazy to ask. 

The good news is the Knicks looked awful, terrible, disgusting at times and really were one bad quarter (really the first five minutes of the 3rd) away from winning this game, or at least making it much closer. Melo was erratic and off all night (7-20) and STAT got the ball a ton early to the tune of 11 first half points, but was un-involved late, finishing with just seven shots. Lin went from DNP-CDs and sparse mop-up minutes game by game to playing 35-45 minutes a night, so of course he's going to be tired. This All-Star break should help the kid freshen up (hoping he plays about three minutes tonight in the Future/Rookie-Sophomore/Rising Stars/Chuck vs. Shaq Challenge game). 

The Knicks are deep and very talented. And once again, D'antoni is tasked with the challenge to work new players in on the fly and in this case work in a new system on the fly. Especially tough to do with this smushed together schedule allowing for few practices. The Knicks were a joke for about 10 years, decent last year, then a joke for the first third of this season. They're likely not going to compete with Miami and Chicago in the East this summer, but they will make the playoffs and will do some damage if* they can run at the optimum level they want to by then.