Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recap: Jeremy Lin's Week of 2/4/12 to 2/11/12


by richmin3000

has anyone ever had a better week than this kid? let's recap for a second.

8 days ago, versus the new jersey nets (soon to be brooklyn nets) and their star point guard, deron williams, jeremy lin came off the bench to put up 25/5/7 (points/rebounds/assists) in 36 minutes. the result was a 7-point knicks win.

two days later, lin got his first start versus the utah jazz and put up 28/2/8 in a ridiculous 45 (out of a possible 48) minutes. the result was an 11-point knicks win.

two days later, lin got another start at the washington wizards against their star point guard, john wall, and put up 23/4/10 in 36 more minutes. the result was a 14-point knicks win.

two days later, lin came back to ny to host kobe bryant and the los angeles lakers. in his first nationally televised game, lin outscored kobe and put up an incredible 38/4/7 line in 39 minutes. the result was a 7-point knicks win.

and finally, last nite, in his first back-to-back game, for the first time, lin started to look human. but even with the obvious fatigue he showed, he still put up 20/6/8 and in 39 more minutes. the result was a com-from-behind 2-point knicks win off of a lin game-winning free throw.

8 days. 5 games. 5 knicks wins. 26.8 points per game. 4.2 rebounds. 8 assists. 2 steals. 52% shooting. getting to the line 8.4 times per game.

to put this into perspective, lin was the first player since isiah thomas in 1981 to score 25 pts and 8 assists in his first ever start. he is one of five players to average 20 pts and 8 assists in his first two starts. his 89 points in his first three starts are the most since 1974.

his scoring average of 26.8 would put him 1st for point guards. his 8 assists would put him 7th. his 4.2 rebounds, 6th. his 2 steals, 5th. his 52% shooting, 2nd. and his free throw attempts of 8.4, 1st, 2.1 more than john wall who would be 2nd.

and this is just his basketball numbers. alone, this would be a great story, even for the 1st overall pick in the draft. but lin's story is much more than that.

a week ago, he was sleeping on couches (his brother's and teammate, landry fields'). now, he's sleeping in former teammate, david lee's, condo in white plains... in a bed.

a week ago, lin was on a 10-day contract wondering if he was going to get cut or sent back to the developmental league. on wed, the knicks guaranteed his contract for the season, for approximately $750,000.

jeremy lin is far from the prototypical nba prospect or star (i guess you can say that now). although he's listed at 6'3" and 200 lbs, he's an asian-american kid who went to harvard to play college ball. i'm sure neither one of those descriptions fit anyone's expectations of a nba player. and the prejudices were apparent when after leading his high school team to a state championship, his hometown school, stanford, didn't even offer him a scholarship. and after breaking all sorts of ivy-league records, not one nba team took a chance on him in the 2010 draft. and even though he was on both the golden state warriors and houston rockets rosters earlier this year, neither team blinked at cutting him at the first opportunity.

the story keeps getting better though. with lin, the moral of the story is to take advantage of the opportunities you are given. after being cut by the rockets, the knicks signed him on december 27, 2011. they signed him only because their rookie point guard, iman shumpert, got hurt. after getting a few minutes here and there, the knicks assigned him to the d-league on january 17, 2012. 3 days later he put up a triple-double with 28/11/12. 3 days later his was back on the knicks.

over the next 4 games, lin average about 10 minutes per game as the knicks went 2-2. the knicks record stood at 8-15. there were rampant rumors that coach d'antoni would be fired soon. their point guard savior at the time, baron davis, was nowhere near ready to play. their three other options to play point guard were underperforming to say the least. their two best players, carmelo anthony and amare stoudemire couldn't figure out how to play together. things were a mess in the mecca of basketball.

3:35 left in the first quarter against the new jersey nets on february 4th, the knicks trailing 21-16, jeremy lin enters the game for iman shumpert. the rest is history as they say.

that nets game has been the only one lin has played with both melo and amare. and in that game lin took and made more shots than either of them. amare would go on to miss the next 4 games due to the unexpected death of his older brother. melo would get injured in the first quarter of the following game against the jazz and has not returned since.

many of you will point out the fact that i am obviously asian and assume that that is the biggest reason i am in love with this story but you would be wrong, or at least mostly wrong. also, a lot of people are loving this story because of the cinderella aspect of it. and though that's certainly amazing, that's not the biggest reason i love this story.

the main reason i love this story so much and the reason i've watched every minute of the last 4 knicks games (i can't say how long it's been since i've done that), is because the knicks were the team of my youth, by far my favorite sports team from ages 12-21. my favorite sports moments growing up were watching the ewing knicks in my basement all alone, screaming at the top of my lungs. jordan's double nickel game. starks' 2 for 18 game against the rockets. ewing's layup that rolled out. houston's game winning shot against the heat. the rivalries. nothing compared to those moments.

then the last ten years happened. isiah thomas happened. stephon marbury happened. eddie curry happened.

and last year, lebron didn't happen, but amare happened and then finally, melo happened. and this year, tyson chander happened. and it seemed like things were gonna turn around.

but then lockout happened and no chemistry happened. melo hapened. coach d'antoni happened. 8-15 happened. i mean, we were hoping that baron davis would come and rescue our season. we were THAT desperate.

so then when jeremy lin finally happened, hope finally happened. and hope is the best thing about sports. because as long as you have that, anything is possible again. and with 3 superstars on this team making about 15 million each, one unknown, unlikely asian-american, ivy-league graduate, making less than a million, might be the most important piece to the puzzle.

honestly, of course i'm proud that he looks sort of like me. just like white people love larry bird, i don't deny the existence of that sort of pride. i also think it's cool that he graduated from harvard when schools like uconn (defending national champions) are getting ncaa violations for poor academic achievements. and obviously, as an american, we love the underdog story. think rocky. cinderella man. rudy. jeremy lin is already fielding offers for the rights to his life story. can't deny that.

but at the end of the day, he's a fucking knick and that makes him mine. more than anything else, that's what i identify with. more than anything else, that's what gets me giddy. he plays point guard for the new york knicks and he plays it well. he's humble and team oriented off the court and in interviews. but on the court, he's aggressive and undaunted by the pressure.

so when the #linsanity subsides (as it certainly will) and when his numbers fall back down to earth (as they certainly will), what we're gonna be left with is a basketball player. a damn good basketball player at that. and he's still gonna be the starting point guard for the knicks. and i'll be completely fine with that storybook ending.

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