Yes, Jeremy Lin looked downright petrified against the Miami Heat. He was 1-for-11 shooting. He picked up his dribble early and often. He turned the ball over eight times. The pick-and-roll, which he had excelled running over the previous 11 games, never materialized. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole took turns hounding Lin.
The Knicks were soundly beaten by the team with the NBA’s best record, 102-88. New York might have got within eight briefly in the second half, but Miami was in total control.
There’s no question right now, the Miami Heat are a better team than the Knicks. Carmelo (7-for-20, 19-points) has had virtually no time to get on the same page as Jeremy Lin and the “new-look” Knicks. Baron Davis has been a turnover machine since getting cleared to play. Throw in the back-to-back aspect, playing on the road, and the angry Miami factor, and you had a recipe for disaster.
Here’s the best news for the Knicks – February is one of the slowest sports months on the calendar, so as soon as Lin began to dominate, the media fell in love with him and couldn’t stop talking about him. The media crush was intense. How many NBA players do you think watched Sportscenter highlights and were annoyed with the amount of coverage this undrafted kid from Harvard was getting?
No more. NFL free agency is nearly upon us. March Madness is nearly here. Spring Training will be heavily covered. Lin won’t lead Sportscenter on a daily basis like he had been for the last two weeks.
The Heat? They look better than at any point last season. Winners of eight in a row, Chris Bosh (25 points) has his confidence back, LeBron is LeBron (20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, this dunk):
and New York had no answer for D Wade (22-5-5). It’s no secret that Miami is the team to beat in the East, and Chicago is the 2nd best team. Third is up for debate. Can the Knicks catch Philly? We might get a sense in the two weeks after the All-Star break. New York opens with Cleveland, then have three challenging road games in a row – Boston, Dallas, San Antonio (the last two back-to-back). Then at Milwaukee. The following week: Five games – vs. Philly, at Chicago (back-to-back), vs. Portland, and then a home-and-home back-to-back with Indiana.
If New York wants to win the Atlantic and avoid a brutal first-round playoff series, I think they’ll need to go 6-4 or at worst 5-5 in that 10-game stretch. The point guards Lin will face: Irving, Rondo, Kidd, Parker, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Derrick Rose, Ray Felton (if he gets his starting gig back) and Collison twice.
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