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Linsanity runs into Hornets nest, Knicks winning streak ends

Feb 17, 2012, 11:53 PM EDT

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin drives to the basket against the New Orleans Hornets in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York Reuters

There are people saying that Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin can’t coexist.

But in the final minutes of the first loss in the Linsanity era Friday night, the Knicks really needed Carmelo Anthony. They needed a second player who can create his own shot (or a shot for others). They needed a second player who does not shrink in the big moments. It’s at moments like the final minutes of a close game where Lin and Anthony could be the kind of combo that wins New York a lot of games.

They lost this one. To the team with the second-worst record in the league. Linsanity is not dead, but it is not infallible either. New Orleans knocked off the Knicks 89-85. New York did not get above .500 on the season, falling to 15-16.

Knicks fans, if you want to blame someone, blame Spike Lee for wearing Jeremy Lin’s high school jersey to the game. He was overlooked then, too.

Actually, blame the turnovers.

Lin had nine of the Knicks’ 21 turnovers on the night. On his first possession of the game, Lin threw a bounce pass at Amare Stoudemire’s feet in transition and turned it over. On his second possession he was forced left and drove the lane but missed the layup (Tyson Chandler cleaned it up for the putback). On his third possession he drove from the top of the key down the lane but lost control, tried to jump-save it and threw it away to the Hornets. On his next possession he drove the lane but lost control and it went off his knee out of bounds.

It was that kind of night for Lin and the Knicks.

The Hornets played about as well as a poor team suffering a rash of injuries could be expected to play. Trevor Ariza led New Orleans with 25 points and every Hornets starter was in double figures. The Hornets made 7-of-12 3-pointers as well.

New York still had its chances. The Knicks cut the lead to four midway through third quarter, but by the start of the fourth it was 10 points again.

In the fourth, an Iman Shumpert step-back three and an Amare 18-footer cut the lead to five with 8:21 left and we had a game. It was close the rest of the way, but this time Linsanity was not enough.

When Lin was cut off on the drive the entire offense had to reset, costing precious time. That is why they needed Anthony. Or J.R. Smith (who can create shots — only for himself, but they are shots). The Knicks’ attack lacked diversity and the Hornets took advantage.

That happens. But it is far from the end of Linsanity in New York.

What Lin has brought to New York is hope, and on the court what he brought was freedom and creativity. For a night, that got lost, blinded by the Hornets’ Mardi Gras uniforms (or something). There is work to do, to integrate Anthony and Smith into the offense.

But there is potential there, and Lin adds hope that it can be worked out. This was one ugly, off night against a bad team. Despite what some New Yorkers think, Lin could not turn water into wine or the Knicks into consistent winners all by himself.

What matters is how the Knicks bounce back and play their next game. How Linsanity on the court evolves as the talent gets added back onto the roster. There is an opportunity there. The old Knicks squandered that. We’ll see what the Lin Knicks do.

  1. mrheavychevy - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM


  2. lemfax - Feb 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    7 big nights & 1 off night… Knicks still allrght..

  3. lunasceiling - Feb 18, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Really the only serious issue with what Lin has brought to the Knicks is too many turnovers, and that’s something you expect from inexperienced point guards. The key will be what he does to cut down on ’em. The Knicks have found the PG d’Antoni’s system needed, and my guess is that they’re a potential deep playoff team now.

    • Justin - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Inexperience is one thing but he has broke the record for most turnovers in history for first 8 nba starts. He is just being kind of careless. Yes, he will get coached up and cut down on the turnovers. The big worry I have for this young, exciting guy is that when he comes back down to earth NY will give him strong backlash for all the hype he received. Yes, he will come back down to earth more. Historically, he cannot continue to shoot at the percentages he has so far. Especially, his numbers shooting the long 2. The other issue will be the return of Carmelo. It will change things.

      • lunasceiling - Feb 18, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        Good points, Justing. I’m not worried about the turnovers: Lin is smart and has a good work ethic, so that will get fixed. But I think you’re right that a backlash is possible if/when he has a poor stretch (or even a mediocre one, after all the hype). It’s not fair, but that’s how it is. I think Carmelo is going to be better in a Lin-run version of d’Antoni’s system, myself…it better suits his game. But we’ll find out soon enough!

      • Justin - Feb 18, 2012 at 6:55 PM

        Lol well I appreciate the extra “g” in my name but you can call me Justin. Yeah I am not trying to say he won’t become the Knicks everyday point guard. I think he will. In my mind i see him averaging 15-7-4 or so by the end of the year. I hope he does better though but with the returning of more shooters he will score less. Maybe I should predict more assists but I will be comfortable with that number.

        No question that he can continue to get better though. Going from undrafted to what he has done doesn’t happen from dumb luck. He had to work. I don’t see him cashing it in anytime soon.

    • md23rewlz - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:53 AM

      Define “potential deep playoff team.” They aren’t beating Miami in the playoffs. They aren’t beating Chicago. I have no clue if they’re better than Boston or Philadelphia or Orlando or Atlanta. It took a seven game winning streak to GET to .500. We really have no idea if New York is legitimately good or if they just got very hot very quickly against a soft section of the schedule. Let’s analyze this win streak: They beat New Jersey (8-23), Utah (15-14), Washington (7-24), Los Angeles (18-12), Minnesota (15-16), Toronto (9-23), and Sacramento (10-20). To recap, that’s four of the worst teams in basketball, two .500 teams, and the Lakers. Considering the fact that they might very well get a 7 or 8 seed and be forced to play Chicago or Miami in round one, I don’t really like their playoff chances.

  4. africanballer - Feb 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    they gon be alright

  5. pandebailey - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Okay, let me get this straight – the Knicks go 4 for 24 (OMG!) on 3-pointers, miss 10 free throws and its Lin’s turnovers that cause them to lose the game by 4? Oh, okay.

    I love the way basketball games are evaluated…every game is like a 52-50 football game with 8 fumbles and 19 penalties and its always one guy’s fault!

  6. losangelasbasketball - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Nbc sports talk = nickerbockers news central
    Yo nbc sports talk, knicks arent the only nba team in the league….

  7. thecrazyasianinseccountry - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    He’s a Harvard grad… I think he’ll be alright, he’ll learn and he doesn’t need to shoot a high percentage. I would rather see the Assist goes up and that too will happen with experience…. And yes I am a bandwagon fan! So what! He gives me something cheer till my tigers and Saints come back on. … I guess if he had to lose his first game, is as good as any as far as i am concern. God Bless!

  8. md23rewlz - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    The Knicks would be improved by having one of the best offensive players in the NBA? That doesn’t make much sense. Why do they need him? They just won seven in a row without him! I don’t really get the logic, but whatever floats your boat. Maybe there’s sarcasm in my post, maybe there’s not. Only time will tell…

  9. mlhlite - Feb 18, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    10 turnovers would seem like alot but any point guard
    trying to make plays will have TO. Steve Nash had at least 7 TO tonight, probably more but dont know exactly so just saying that it needs to be put into perspective. If you look to pass a.d you are the “gb” you are going to have turnovers

  10. anhdazman - Feb 18, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Melo and JR Smith will get this team up to championship calibur. That’s a sick starting 5 line up, Lin, JR Smith, Melo, Amare and Chandler.

    • bklynfatpants - Feb 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      JR most definitely coming off the bench.

  11. Amadeus - Feb 18, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Melo Yelo won’t work. Besides, the hype is over. No NFL, it’s a boring time of the year and the bread and circuses are out of steam. How to fill those pathetic lives out there. Create new media heroes for the stupid masses. Of course, the Whitney Houston story can be milked for a few more days, but then what?

  12. mlblogsbig3bosox - Feb 18, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Man, Lin almost put up a double-double (26 points, 9 turnovers). If you think they’re not going to get back on track, you’re tripping. You must be on that dope. Jeremy Lin won’t play next game. Linsanity will.

  13. schaffershokai - Feb 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    He needs to work on his stamina. I suggest he buckle down and start doing this:

  14. basketball34 - Feb 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Inevitable. Even seasoned superstars can’t win every game. But it’s hard to believe that there will be any unwarranted, ungrateful NY “backlash” when this young phenom becomes Jeremy Lin again instead of Linsanity. He’s already improved the standings/prospects of the Knicks – something Anthony & Stoudamire hadn’t done without him. Would be thrilled if he were on my team, even with the rookie turnovers.

  15. Justin - Feb 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Wow did anyone see the picture ESPN put up on their mobile site. Just idiotic if you ask me.

  16. bklynfatpants - Feb 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    ESPN headline is messed up if that’s true.

    Unfortunately, it’s not as messed up as Spike preciously wearing Lin’s high school jersey.

    Knicks will be ok. JR will need to come off the bench though.

  17. losangelasbasketball - Feb 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    How the hell did the knicks afford jr smith with all the big salaries they have on the books

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