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Jeremy Lin comes back to earth, but inspires Knicks win

Feb 12, 2012, 1:11 AM EDT

Ricky Rubio, Jeremy Lin AP

The Knicks would not have won this game two weeks ago.

And that is the true measure Linsanity — it is not just the points and assists that Jeremy Lin brings anymore, it’s about the energy and fight he has brought out of this roster. Two weeks ago the Knicks would have rolled over and taken their loss on the second night of a back-to-back. They would have would all have been gunners and when the shots didn’t fall they would have accepted their fate.

Not now. Now they stage comebacks.

Jeremy Lin came back to earth some on Saturday night — hounded by Ricky Rubio he needed 24 shots to get his 20 points, he had eight assists but six turnovers.

But the Knicks — looking tired on the second night of a back-to-back — had other players step up, closed the game on a 5-0 run by making key plays and escaped Minnesota with a 100-98 win.

Oh, and Lin did hit the go-ahead free throw. So you can add that to the legend.

But this game was about the other Knicks. Down six with 3:30 left it looked like this was just not the Knicks night. For the six minutes before that the Knicks scored just two points, courtesy Tyson Chandler. Nothing worked. But they fought hard on defense (and the Timberwolves didn’t take advantage of some good looks and nifty plays by Rubio).

Then Steve Novak drained a three (he finished with 15), then Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert knocked down shots and suddenly the Knicks were ahead 95-94. Shumpert had 20 points off the bench and was New York’s best offensive player of the game.

Minnesota is a young team learning how to win, too. Kevin Love drew a foul and knocked down a couple free throws (he finished with a ridiculous 32 points and 21 rebounds), then Rubio made an impressive driving layup and the Wolves were up 3 with :39 seconds left.

Then, another Novak three. It was tied. Rubio had an ugly turnover, then soon Jeremy Lin was in the lane and drew a foul from Luke Ridnour (who didn’t need to foul, Nikola Pekovic had played Lin well on the drive). Minnesota had time for one clean look, but Rubio dribbled the ball off his foot and you kind of had a feeling how this was going to end.

The Knicks have found something more than just a point guard in Lin, they have found some passion and identity. The return of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can make that better. The Knicks can start to live up to the preseason promise of the squad. And that is the real meaning of Linsanity. Because two weeks ago that seemed impossible

  1. knicks4life - Feb 12, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Lin =Knicks savior

    • rodgersmvp - Feb 12, 2012 at 1:50 AM

      Lin really shows how important intangibles are in the NBA. You can have all the star power in the world but without a strong will it all falls apart.

  2. bleedburgandyandgold - Feb 12, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Always nice to read about a nobody coming outa no where and making a direct positive impact on his team an the sport

  3. mredjd - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    There was that stretch in the 3rd and 4th quarters where the Knicks were in a lull where Melo in the post will be so helpful for the knicks. Because when the P&R gets stopped, you can still have Melo in the post working. So long as the other knicks continue moving than look at Melo iso plays, the Knicks could be formidable.

  4. poohman1975 - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    Knicks will go back in the sh*tter soon as Melo and Amare come back., their egos won’t be able to stand it.

  5. asublimeday - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Makes you wonder how good the Knicks would be of they didn’t pull the trigger on the melo trade. Here’s a big hint: better.

  6. bknowledge - Feb 12, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Lin is playing great. But with Amare and Carmelo out, Knicks are starting two guys that shoot 40% from the 3 (Landry and Walker). That stretches the defense/spaces the court/enables dribble penetration…
    When Amare and Carmelo come back, this amazing display is gonna end. Knicks could play this offense with one of them, but not both on the court at the same time. Carmelo and Amare don’t have 3 point range (Carmelo very well may one day develop that shot, but if you shoot 32% for your career, the defense will happily let you shoot 3′s all day- which is what we’ve seen a lot from the Knicks- Melo jacking up 3′s.) Melo’s role in this offense would be the corner 3…but he won’t go where he should…because his favorite spot is the elbow (Carmelo is top 3 most dominant player in the league in the iso from the elbow- probably number 1)…
    Knicks should start:
    Tyson
    Amare
    Landry
    Walker
    Linn
    that team is better than Miami at 3 positions…they have great wing defenders…a great help defender…they’re a solid rebounding team…and their offense would be great…they would have a very good chance to make NBA finals…

    You may think I’m wrong, but wait and see a month from now. When Tyson, Amare, and Melo are on the floor together, defenses are gonna have 3 defenders within 15 feet of the basket/camped around the lane. Dribble penetration will end. We’re gonna see a lot of bad forced shots…

    Ideal center for D’Antoni style offense is Sam Perkins- he guards the low post, defensive rebounds, shoots 40% from the 3. (Bill Laimbeer also fits the mold. Kevin Love might be able to do it because of the lack of centers/low post play in the modern NBA. Knicks Josh Harrelson has that kind of potential to be a stretch 5.)

    Knicks really should trade Carmelo or Amare…they hinder each others ability…because of Knicks current personnel, I’d recommend trading Carmelo…

    • theghostofwillisreed - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      you’re out of your mind. lin is a great story but when you have two superstars on your team, you find a way to make it work. the reality is the knicks will not win a series against the likes of the bulls or heat with the team w/out stat and melo.

    • kinggw - Feb 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Lin has been good for the Knicks, but its ridiculous to make any long term moves based on a 5 game stretch where they only beat one playoff team. Secondly, your version of the Knicks is only better than the Heat at the center position. Lastly if the Knicks have to trade somebody, shouldn’t they trade the soon to be 30 year old guy with bad knees?

  7. 00maltliquor - Feb 12, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    Kinda sucks all this winning to get back to the playoffs is gonna be for nothing once the black hole known as Carmelo Anthony returns.

    Hey Melo, the Knicks have won 5 in a row without you (and Amare,you too) with an undrafted, little known, 2nd year 3rd string back up PG as the Knicks frontman. What’s that tell you about, well,…you!? Look in the mirror, cabron! Take a backseat to Lin, shut up and play team ball, and let him guide this team to the promise land. And when he does, give him a 25% cut of your playoff paychecks as a thank you for even getting you there to get said paychecks.

    • LPad - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Actually Melo and Amare both played against NJ. Lin’s a good player, but the reason why the team looks so much better is because they now have a PG.

  8. losangelasbasketball - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    The knicks went from nobodies to somebodies in just a few years… Amazing. Clippers too.

    Youtube losangelasbasketball

  9. EvanZ - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    The fix is Lin.

  10. nickswish33 - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    bknowledge -
    Carmelo isn’t a bad 3point shooter he hits them when he is open but takes fadeaways with defenders all in his face

  11. bknowledge - Feb 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Knicks could build a team around Melo like this:
    If they can convince Shumpert to play like Rip Hamilton played, or Reggie Miller played- meaning a guy that spends all his time on offense running around screens…

    Tyson
    Josh Harrelson
    Carmelo
    Shumpert
    Lin

    They could start their offense with Melo at left elbow receiving ball from Lin at the top of the key. Shump is in left corner 3, Josh and Tyson are setting a double screen or double staggered screen on the right side of the lane (Tyson is close to, but not blocking the baseline; Harrelson is near left elbow). When Melo gets the pass, Shump makes cut along baseline, Lin runs to the spot Shump just vacated….at this point, Melo has a lot of great options…he’s got a one on one iso play for himself…if Lin’s defender doubles him, Lin in the corner for the easiest 3 in the NBA…Melo can also hit Shump for a bunch of looks- it depends on how Shump’s defender covers him…if the defender goes thru the paint, Shump can go to the left corner and get ready for wide open 3…if the defender tries to follow Shump around screens, Shump will either have an open elbow jumper, or he could split the screen and cut back to the basket receive the pass from Melo for an open look at a lay-up…there’s a couple variations for what Tyson and Harrelson do once Melo chooses the play…for the most part Harrelson heads to the top of the key 3 line (maybe he gets the kick out on a broken play…his defender will most likely be in the paint preparing to defensive rebound)…for the most part Tyson will be trying for the offensive rebound….
    This is just a half court set…Knicks should be great in early offense before the d sets…with Melo, Shump and Lin fast breaking…

    • bknowledge - Feb 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      In the set I just described, Knicks could start their offense in other ways…If they started with Shumpp’s cut along baseline, as he is passing thru the paint from right to left, Lin is using Harrelson’s left elbow screen to dribble in to the the paint- if Harrelson’s screen is successful, the Knicks will have many many good options- Lin essentially has a look at an open drive for a lay-up- Knicks will have a lot of options….if Melo’s man shows real hard, we’re probably looking at an open Melo jumper from 17 feet…if Tyson’s man shows, its probably an open stuff for Tyson….
      Amare could play in these sets, but…the bail out open shot is the three from the top of the key…its one of the toughest shots in the game…and Harrelson has better 3 point range than Amare…(big shot “Bob” Robert Horry is famous largely because he hit threes from the top of the key on broken plays…its not an insignificant skill)…

      • bknowledge - Feb 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        I messed up my left and my right….Shump in right corner 3, Melo right elbow, Double screen at left side of lane, Lin top of the key….at the start of the half court offense…Shump’s cut along baseline starts play…

  12. lolatraidersfans - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    ‘Melo needs to get back as soon as possible so the Knicks can get back to how they started the season. Superstar isolation on one side of the court with either Amare or Melo and let them do their thing while 4 guys watch. That’s why you pay Superstars all that money… to play Superstar basketball.

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