So goes another weekend of New York Knicks basketball and with it come 2 wins while the legend of Jeremy Lin continues to grow.
What started over a week ago has blossomed into a 6-game win streak that no one can predict when it will end. I (I’m sure along with many others) believed that winning would end Saturday night in front of a very excited Timberwolves crowd. (well lets be honest, it was Minnesota, the crowed arena was silent compared to most places. I guess everyone in Minnesota is far too nice to be loud and disrespectful.) But the loss did not come. Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak hit some big shots late to give the Knicks a late lead. There is a lot to discuss about this game but we’ll get to that.
First, let us touch upon the current status of Lin-sanity. Whoever is in charge of on-air promotions for the MSG network deserves a big fat raise because they always handle these situations with broadcasting greatness. Of course, as soon as Dolan finds out about what a great person he has hired he’ll most likely fire him for someone less talented and cheaper. But this dates back to last year when the Knicks acquired Carmello Anthony from the Denver Nuggets and the MSG networks ran this commercial.
Just fantastic, it was perfect. A real quote and a beautiful spot summing up not only the excitement of a new face but highlighting what it meant to both parties (the Knick fan base and Melo who wanted to come to NY the whole time.) I don’t know a single fan who wasn’t fired up by these ads.
Recently, MSG had outdone themselves once again. They have released a commercial (That I don’t find on Youtube at the moment but will post when I find it) showing a great camera angle of Lin entering the game against New Jersey where all this started. In the background is a sound bite of Mike Breen saying “And this is why we watch sports, because you never know what it’s going to happen.” Wow. How perfectly does that sum everything up? Once again, well done MSG network. But not James Dolan, I know you had nothing to do with this.
Ok, so, the weekend games. Once again we were treated to greatness and it started on Friday with the Knicks playing host to arguably the best franchise in the NBA over the past few years, the Los Angeles Lakers. For as long as I can remember in recent years the Lakers have very easily had their way with the Knicks, including earlier this year at the Staples Center. But Friday was different, this is Lin-sanity! The Knicks (behind Jeremy Lin’s 38 points) were able to hold off a Laker team hungry for a win and Kobe Bryant hungry to return the spot light to himself. Before the game, Kobe claimed he had not heard of Lin-sanity…
“I have no idea what you guys are talking about…I don’t know what he’s done..” Are you aware now? Kobe legit laughed off every single question regarding Jeremy Lin including the last question of that video in which a reporter asked if he would consider guarding Lin if it was that type of game to which Kobe responded with “Jesus Christ, lets not get ahead of ourselves.”
Let me make something clear, I truly believe Kobe is the best player in the sport right now. I have immense amounts of respect for the guy and all he has accomplished and I enjoy watching him succeed. However, that being said, how satisfying was it to watch him eat those words? I don’t think I have ever been happier to watch Kobe eat humble pie. When the third quarter came to a close, I think I speak for all Knick fans when I say I openly wished the game would’ve ended there. A lead yes but less than 10 points meant Kobe Bryant was coming. The guy is straight up deadly in the 4th and we all held our breaths collectively hoping our Knicks could hold on. And Kobe did go off, he finished with 34. Pretty average for him in the garden. But the Knicks held strong and other than Lin doing his thing, it was largely in part to defense. The Knicks completely shut down Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the paint which is nothing short of miraculous. But maybe the trade that fell through has affected Gasol because he has not been the same this year…. New York held Bynum to just 3 points and 3 offensive rebounds. And in that, they proved what taking Bynum out of the equation does to the Lakers. It puts the game squarely in the hands of Kobe (not something he isnt used to) but with little weaponry around him, teams playing as well as the Knicks right now stand a great chance to beat them. Maybe that’s why LA is only 5-10 on the road this year….
So awesome, a 92-85 victory at home over the big bad Lakers. This has to be where it ends right? the TWolves are hot right now thats where it has to end right?
Minnesota had their first sell out of the year and 4th biggest crowd in franchise history on hand to witness their hometown heroes take on Lin-sanity. Needless to mention the 4th biggest crowd in franchise history was well aware there would be no Amare and no Melo. Just sayin.
But this had loss written all over it. Kevin Love, who has been averaging career games every time the Knicks are in the general area and Ricky Rubio who, so far, is looking like everything he is advertised to be. And Nikola Pekovich…WHERE THE HELL DID THIS GUY COME FROM?? I’ll tell you what, if this guy plays like he did on Saturday on a regular basis than the T’Wolves are scarier than I thought. Dude popped off 21 points and 13 rebounds not to mention 9-10 from the field. He was a huge factor that the Knick D could not slow down.
This game was a great example of why they NEED Amare back. Yes its been a nice run with out the big 2 and to his credit, Jared Jefferies has been an alright fill in. Guy hustles and gives it all on D but he CANNOT be the every day PF. Just cant. He has some of the worst hands I have seen. I don’t know how someone can camp under the basket as much as he does and not score more points. Jefferies finished the night with 8 points and 8 boards but Pekovich made Jefferies his school boy bitch on the offensive glass. Jared only pulled down 1 offensive rebound.
But regardless, the Knicks got outplayed in almost every aspect of the game and still hung around. These are the types of games that we have seen most recent Knick teams lay down and accept defeat but this is Lin-sanity! Big buckets from Lin and Novak helped put the Knicks head by 2 and steal a victory they did not deserve by any stretch. But thats just it. Winning games you do not deserve. Thats what good teams do and thats exactly what the Knicks have not done. How many games have we Knick fans seen where, what looked like a sure thing win, was taken right from under our noses? Too many times to count. It feels good to be the thief.
So, now two games under .500 and officially in the 8 spot, we look forward to the return of the big 2. Amare will be returning to the team today (Monday) and will be in the starting line up Tuesday against the Raptors. Melo’s return date is still in question but it is believed that he will be back for a weekend matchup against the defending NBA champion Mavs.
Now the questions start to swirl. 6 in a row without Melo and Amare, will they ruin the team chemistry? A dream scenario for media members everywhere. This is why we love the NBA story line after story line after story line. Will the stars ruin the chemistry? Someone actually asked Mike D’antoni after the Lakers game “When Melo and Amare return are they going to see any starting minutes?” D’antoni responded with laughter.
But lets look at it honestly here. You are not messing up the chemistry. You bringing back the big expensive flashy pieces you wanted but now you have the key component you were missing before: a point guard. These past 6 games have been unbelievable to see how heavily Mike D’antoni’s system relys on a good point guard. And now, you’re replacing Stone-hands Mcdickfingers (Jared Jefferies) with Amare and Bill Walker with Melo. And how bad has Bill walker been? Guy has basically just been a body on the floor. Usually you can count on him for a few big buckets off the bench but put him in a starting role and he shits the bed. On saturday he finished with 3 points (all from the charity stripe) and went 0-5 from the field. On friday against LA he finished with 7 points and went 3-11 from the field. Can we seriously discuss starting Shumpert until melo returns? Guys been on fire.
But regardless. Good times are rolling in the big apple with two winnable games coming up (not calling anything just stating a fact). Can’t wait to see how things play out.
The Knicks take on Toronto in the garden tomorrow. Tip off is at 7.
P.s. I heard a rumor that Lin is going to start dating Adele. A rumor that i made up but if it happens you heard it here first.