I think New York needs a moment like this.
You got to be Lin-it to win it.
And with Jeremy Lin running the show for the Knicks, they just keep...... Lin-ning.
I coud have guessed that Lin was gonna do well against the Lakers, who don't really have an elite point guard and were playing their second game in two nights. But 38 points to go along with 7 assists and 4 rebounds to out play Kobe Bryant......on national television? At this point this is just surreal. Easy for me to say that I haven't heard the Garden rocking like this in a while. Sheesh, even after the Giants just won the Super Bowl, I haven't heard the city abuzz like this in a while.
And you better believe that I was amongst the crowd last night at the Garden chanting:
It's not that Lin has emerged from absolutely no where to become a serviceable player for New York. No, he went from the D-league to become the best player on the Knicks and almost single handedly has turned around the franchise in leading them to 4 consecutive wins. And this is all in a little over a week!
In those 4 games Lin is averaging 28.5 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds a game.
It's almost expected for him to put in work now and lead the team.
There is certainly something special happening.
As Tyson Chandler said, "I've never seen anything like this. Not a guy who was the 12th man sitting on the end of the bench doing what he's doing."
How is this possible?
After last night's game, Kobe Bryant said: "It's testament to perseverance and hard work. A good example for kids everywhere."
And D'Antoni chimed in: "I would like to think it would all work out, a guy who's true to his profession and works hard that eventually he'll get a chance.""He's made the most of his situation and we're going to try and make the most of him being able to play."
To sum it up and segue a bit from my last piece on Steve Nash, here is what Nash wrote on Twitter the other day: "If you love sports you have to love what Jeremy Lin is doing. Getting an opportunity and exploding!!!"
Almost as amazing is how this run by Lin and the Knicks has transformed the way people are looking at D'Antoni and his job security. I heard a guy on the Knicks radio bring up a great point.
About D'Antoni's system, he said:
"Look at what Steve Nash did. Look at what Chris Duhon did when he first got to the Knicks (He set the Knicks record for assists in a game with 22). And at this time last year, everyone was saying Raymon Felton should be an all-star. Now look at Jeremy Lin."
I always felt that after the Carmelo trade, D'Antoni didn't seem to really adjust his system to cater to the specific strengths of his players. But what if it's his players that should switch up their games to cater to his offensive schemes? They definitely seem to induce offensive potency and instill ball movement that keeps everyone involved. There is no question now, that his system is dependent on a skilled and smart point guard. But there is also no doubt that his style of coaching makes point guards better. And I can't emphasize enough, it is really amazing (and somewhat gratifying) to see what playing fundamental pick and role basketball can do. It is a simple play that provides so many offensive options.
But don't take my word for it, after last night's win against the Lakers, Jeremy Lin himself said: "Coach D'Antoni is an offensive genius."
There is probably a reason he is an assistant coach for team USA.
I should say, Jeremy Lin doesn't have too many one-on-one skills.
But who cares? Since when has that become the defining factor for being a good basketball player? Or running good offense? It's probably better (certainly for this team) that his style of play is more team oriented.
EVERY TIME he comes off a Tyson Chandler or Jared Jeffries (and soon to be A'mare Stoudemire) screen at the top of the key, he either:
1) has a wide open mid-range jump-shot
2) gets into the lane
3) has the screener rolling to the basket for a lob or bounce pass
4) has an open shooter in the strong side wing/corner (after the defense helps)
5) has an open shooter in the weak side wing/corner open (which can be hit by a skip pass or ball reversal)
Let me reiterate. He has one of these options EVERY TIME.
Is it any wonder that the Knicks offense has picked up? Is it any wonder that there is more ball movement and that everyone on the team is more involved? Think about how much easier it is for player not involved in the pick and roll to get open shots or make plays by making the extra pass or attacking the basket as the help defense tries to recover.
Most important for the Knicks offense is that Lin is smart with the ball (Harvard). He sees the floor well and is a willing passer. But it also important to note, as did Tyson Chandler did, that "he is skilled."
Ask Derek Fisher:
Lin is fairly quick and aggressive going to the basket to put pressure on the defense. It is almost surprising how tough and extremely adept at finishing in the paint he is. I mean really, it was amazing seeing him loft shots above Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol last night - many of them while getting fouled (he took 13 free throws).
When getting into the lane, Lin is also developing a bit of a go to move. He likes to drive to his right going to the basket and then turn his body away from the rim to protect the ball from the bigs as he take a reverse lay-up from the left side. Check it out:
Of course, being only 23 and 4 games into playing significant minutes in the NBA, Lin still has some things to work on. As a Laker fan pointed out during the game last night, Lin doesn't seem to have much of a left hand and always wants to go back to his right. He made a good point. But at the same time, the pick and roll offense is set up so that even if the bigs jump out and hedge on the screen to prevent Lin from turning the corner going right, he still has 3 out of the 5 options listed above and can even split the defense. And even if the on-ball defender overplays Lin to his left, in attempt to prevent Lin from using the screen, he can blow by them going left as he did against John Wall the other night.
But really the most important and amazing thing about Jeremy Lin thus far has been his ability to transform the energy and attitude of the team.
After the game Jared Jeffries said: "You see how hard and unselfish he is playing and you'd have to be a fool not to follow him and play the same way."
Jeffries finished the game with 11 points and 9 rebounds. No wonder he's so excited and supportive:
And it's everyone on the team.
Steve Novak scored 19 points twice in the last four games.
Imam Shumpert had 9 points in the 4th quarter last night.
Tyson Chandler is averaging 15 and 10 in the last 4 games.
Jeremy Lin has managed to Lin-fect his team and all of New York with his play.
Dare I say we have an Lin-satible appetite for it now?
Nothing less will suffice.
And if someone who was un-drafted, in the D-league a couple of weeks ago, sitting at the end of the bench, living on his brother's couch, and didn't have his contract guaranteed till last night can go out and play this way, why can't we all do the same?
Jeremy Lin is leading New York.