Barely a month into the season and the Knicks fans were already losing hope. After a 4 game winning streak early in January, the Knicks had lost 11 out of 13 games and had fallen to an 8-15 record. Despite having two all-stars in Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks were failing to score points. Coach Mike D’Antoni’s potent offense that worked so well in Phoenix with Steve Nash did not function properly in New York. People were questioning if the Knicks would even make it back to the playoffs again.
It was a pivotal moment in the season. Any more losses and it would be very difficult for the Knicks to climb back into the playoff race. The team knew it, the fans knew it, and coach D’Antoni definitely knew it. But lacking the point guard that he desperately needed, there seemed little he could do to right the ship. There were even rumors that coach D’Antoni might lose his job if the Knicks didn’t start winning again.
2/04/2012: Knicks vs. Nets
The 8-15 Knicks faced off against the 8-16 Nets, their rivals from across the Hudson river. The game did not start well. The Nets went on a run early in the first quarter and built a 10 point lead. Maybe it was an experiment or maybe it was just frustration, but coach D’Antoni put in a little known player named Jeremy Lin with 3 minutes left in the first quarter. Coach D’Antoni might have thought “nothing else seems to be going right, let’s just give the kid some minutes and see what happens”.
What happened was Linsanity.
Jeremy Lin out duels all-star point guard Deron Williams and helps the Knicks to a 99-92 win. In 36 mins, Lin scores 25 points, dishes out 7 assists, grabs 5 rebounds, and gets 2 steals. Not only did he save the Knicks from a potentially embarrassing loss to the Nets, he also might have saved D’Antoni’s job. After the game, D’Antoni said “I had my doubts, but we just stayed with it and he has some of the qualities that we needed,”
For the first time in a long time, Knicks fans had something to cheer about. But will the good fortunes last?
2/06/2012: Knicks vs. Jazz
The day started out with some bad news. Amare Stoudemire’s older brother was killed in a car crash and Amare left the team to be with his family. This meant that the Knicks were going to play without their best big man. Lacking Amare’s scoring and inside presence, the Knicks would have a hard time against the Jazz. Perhaps D’Antoni saw qualities in Lin that he had been looking for, the coach gave Lin the nod at starting point guard.
More bad news for the Knicks. 5 minutes into the game, Carmelo Anthony suffered a groin strain and had to leave the game. Now the Knicks were without Amare AND Carmelo. Things were beginning to look desperate. But losing the 2 all-stars meant that the Knicks could play as the scrappy underdogs and that gave Jeremy Lin the opportunity to shine. And Lin did not disappoint.
Jeremy Lin out duels Devin Harris and led the Knicks to a 99-88 win. In 45 mins, he scored 28 points, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 2 rebounds, and got 2 steals.
You must remember that just a few months ago Jeremy Lin was still playing in the D-league, the NBA’s version of the minor league. And now he’s leading the New York Knicks to wins without the help of any of the all-stars. This seemed just a little too good to be true. The news is out and any teams the Knicks face from now on would be prepared to shut down Jeremy Lin. The first team to try was the Washington Wizards and their former #1 draft pick John Wall.
2/08/2012: Knicks vs Wizards
John Wall is one of the most athletic guards in the NBA. Many people thought that Jeremy Lin wouldn’t be able to score the way he did against the Nets and the Jazz. The Wizards was also a better defensive team than the Nets and the Jazz. Perhaps the Jeremy Lin saga would end on this night. But Jeremy had other ideas.
The Wizards were able to limit Jeremy’s scoring abilities, but this night he showed them his passing skills. Jeremy recorded his first career double double by dishing out 10 assists. He helped set up his teammates and again led the Knicks to a 107-93 victory. He also had this little present for John Wall.
In 36 mins, Lin scored 23 points, dished out 10 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds, and got 1 steal.
Could this dream still go on? When will Jeremy wake up and realize that this shouldn’t be happening? Or maybe this should have been happening all along, and it was just a matter of time till Jeremy got his chance. Next up, Jeremy will get the chance to go up against one of the best NBA players in history. Kobe Bryant.
2/10/2012: Knicks vs. Lakers
Before the game reporters asked Kobe what he thought of Jeremy Lin. Kobe responded that he knew who Lin was but isn’t aware of what Lin had been doing recently. Perhaps it was a way to put Lin down, but Kobe’s comments had the completely opposite effect.
Jeremy Lin had one of the best games any Knicks player has had all season and outscores Kobe 38 to 34. He again led the Knicks to a 92-85 win against the former world champion Lakers. In 39 mins, he scored 38 points, dished out 7 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds, hit 2 3pts, and got 2 steals. Lin demonstrated to everyone that not only can he penetrate the defense and set other players up, he can also hit the outside shot. He is gaining confidence by the day and quickly becoming a dangerous player to play against.
2/11/2012: Knicks vs. Timberwolves
Another game, another good match-up for Lin. Ricky Rubio is the young phenom from Spain who was drafted into the NBA at age 19. So far this season Rubio has demonstrated superb passing and leadership skills. If anyone was going to give Lin a challenge, it was Rubio.
Understandably, Jeremy was tired. He had never played more minutes and in more games than he had in the last week. But despite the fatigue, he still contributed to the team. In 39 mins, he scored 20 points, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 6 rebounds, and got 3 steals. This was a great victory for the Knicks because it was on the road, and they came back from behind in the 4th quarter to win the game. Jeremy did not shoot well in the second half, but he managed to draw a foul in the final minute of the game and knocked down the game winning free throw. The Knicks would win the game 100-98.
This is where the story is now. In two days Jeremy Lin and the Knicks will face the Raptors in Toronto. They will know who Jeremy Lin is and they will have studied how he plays. Will the Raptors be the first team to stop Jeremy Lin and the Knicks? Or will Jeremy again continue his dream and get the Knicks their 6th consecutive win?
Stayed tuned folks. There’s much more to come.