Too Much Heat

Knicks – 88 vs. Heat – 102

While the Knicks have been climbing the ranks since Jeremy’s debut in few short weeks ago, the Miami Heat showed the world why they were the top ranked team in the NBA. Showing tremendous athleticism and skill, the three Heat all-stars of James, Wade, and Bosh each scored at least 20 points and denied any of the Knicks players from doing the same. Jeremy was the target of much of their hard defense, as he shot only 1-11 from the field and had 8 turnovers. After such a heavy dose of physical and psychological pressure since his debut, ending with his worst game as a starter, the impending All-Star break is likely welcomed time off for Jeremy.

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Knicks Dispatch Hawks By Halftime

Knicks – 99 vs. Hawks – 82

A much needed decisive win for the Knicks as they were able to rest their starters for the tough match up tomorrow against against the Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony had a far better showing, who scored 15 points and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in a relatively short night for the starters. The Knicks distributed the ball well and had 5 players scoring in double digits, leading by as much as 30 points early in the 3rd quarter.

Jeremy recorded 17 points on 6-11 shooting, 9 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in 32 minutes.

Linsanity by the Numbers

After 10 games of spectacular performances, the reality of Jeremy Lin sets in after both the hype and the doubts. The Knicks have won 8 of their last 10 games with Jeremy, where he has started in 9 of them and played more minutes than any other member of the team. Compared to the last 10 games of all other players in the NBA, here is where Jeremy stands in the league:

  • #9 in Scoring
  • #3 in Assists
  • #2 in Steals
  • #4 in Combined Points, Rebounds, and Assists (#1 among guards)
  • #13 in Overall Efficiency (#3 among guards)

The names that appear in both the top 20 for assists and scoring aside from Jeremy are Tony Parker, Deron Williams, LeBron James, and Derrick Rose. Other names that appear with Jeremy on the top 10 for both the combined stats and efficiency list for guards are Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Monta Ellis. To even mention any player with these stars is a testament to what they’ve done, but it’s also notable which names aren’t mentioned. All-star point guards Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Rajon Rondo have all trailed Jeremy in various stats, most notably scoring ability, but in both overall efficiency and effectiveness as well.

There have been arguments that Jeremy’s performance is going to slow down as the league recognizes his ability and properly defends him, but he has continued to break personal records in every single one of the past 10 games. He broke his scoring record 3 times, assist record 6 times, rebound record 2 times, and steal record 1 time. Whether teams are paying more attention and defending Jeremy more than before, he’s getting better at a faster rate. Unfortunately, as part of playing more minutes than ever before, Jeremy has also broken his record for turnovers twice. Fortunately, Jeremy is prolific at stealing the ball back and averaged the same number of turnovers minus steals per game as Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook, which suddenly makes it both normal and acceptable at that level of play.

For those that argue that 10 games still isn’t enough time to convince you that Jeremy is rocking the NBA like the star that he is, keep waiting, cause it’s going to get better.

Sample stats below from NBA.com, full stats and discussion on the forums

Scoring Leaders Points
1 Kevin Durant , OKC 29.3
2 Russell Westbrook , OKC 26.9
2 Deron Williams , NJN 26.9
4 Kobe Bryant , LAL 26.8
5 Tony Parker , SAS 25.5
6 Kevin Love , MIN 25.4
6 Dirk Nowitzki , DAL 25.4
8 Monta Ellis , GSW 25.0
9 Jeremy Lin , NYK 24.6
10 Dwyane Wade , MIA 24.4
11 Andrea Bargnani , TOR 24.2
11 LeBron James , MIA 24.2
13 Derrick Rose , CHI 23.6
14 LaMarcus Aldridge , POR 21.7
15 Eric Gordon , NOH 21.0
16 Rudy Gay , MEM 20.8
16 Blake Griffin , LAC 20.8
16 Dwight Howard , ORL 20.8
19 Al Jefferson , UTA 20.3
19 David Lee , GSW 20.3
Assist Leaders APG
1 Steve Nash , PHX 13.2
2 Jose Calderon , TOR 9.4
3 Jeremy Lin , NYK 9.2
4 Rajon Rondo , BOS 9.0
5 Tony Parker , SAS 8.2
6 Ramon Sessions , CLE 8.1
6 John Wall , WAS 8.1
8 Chris Paul , LAC 7.8
9 Ricky Rubio , MIN 7.6
10 Greivis Vasquez , NOH 7.4
11 Stephen Curry , GSW 7.2
12 Kyle Lowry , HOU 7.1
13 Deron Williams , NJN 7.0
14 LeBron James , MIA 6.4
14 Derrick Rose , CHI 6.4
16 D.J. Augustin , CHA 6.2
17 Mike Conley , MEM 6.1
18 Andre Iguodala , PHI 6.0
19 Andre Miller , DEN 5.9
20 Jason Kidd , DAL 5.7
Efficiency Leaders (Guards) EFF
1 Tony Parker , SAS 24.4
2 Dwyane Wade , MIA 24.2
3 Jeremy Lin , NYK 23.7
4 Russell Westbrook , OKC 23.4
5 Deron Williams , NJN 23
6 Steve Nash , PHX 22.1
7 John Wall , WAS 21.9
8 Stephen Curry , GSW 21.7
9 Monta Ellis , GSW 21.4
10 Derrick Rose , CHI 21.2
Points/Rebounds/Assists (Guards) TOTAL
1 Jeremy Lin , NYK 379
2 Russell Westbrook , OKC 370
3 Deron Williams , NJN 368
4 Tony Parker , SAS 366
5 Kobe Bryant , LAL 360
6 Derrick Rose , CHI 334
7 Monta Ellis , GSW 332
8 Dwyane Wade , MIA 322
9 John Wall , WAS 316
10 Chris Paul , LAC 300

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Nets Flip the Table Over Knicks in Rematch

Tough loss for the Knicks as they fall to another underachieving team, Nets – 100 vs. Knicks – 92.

Deron Williams of the Nets was the clear star on the court with 38 points and shooting 8-14 from beyond the arc. The strong defense of Iman Shumpert was sorely missed as he sat the game with a minor injury (left knee). Tyson Chandler did very well while he was on the floor, but has been ailing from a noticeable wrist injury, that might have contributed to his early foul trouble. Jeremy was able to keep his turnovers down this game (3), but there was clearly a change in flow to the Knicks team with the recent additions of Anthony, Davis, and Smith.

Jeremy ended the game with 21 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds (career high), and 4 steals.

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Back in the Saddle

The Knicks defeat the Mavericks 104 – 97, in another stellar night for Jeremy. He played almost the entirety of the game and contributed in every way on the stat sheet and showed no sign of being fazed by the loss from two days ago. The Mavericks had the best record of all the teams the Knicks have faced in their past 9 games and were coming off of a 6 game win streak. The game was considered another hurdle for Jeremy as he was covered defensively by Shawn Marion, one of the best defenders in the league, who has given many star point guards trouble this season. He ended the night with 28 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists (career high), 5 steals (career high), and 1 block on nearly 46 minutes of play.

This is the Knicks 8th win out of 9 games in the Linsanity era.

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A Lintermission to Linsanity

The Knicks had their win streak ended by the most unlikely of opponents, as the New Orleans Hornets defeated the Knicks, 89-85. Jeremy struggled in the first half with 8 turnovers, but would end up with only 1 more turnover for the rest of the game, while recording 26 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals in the loss. The Knicks shot poorly  in terms of freethrows (65.5%) and 3-pointers (16.7%), which dug a deficit of up to 14 points in the 2nd quarter that became too great to overcome later.

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Jeremy Lin added to All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge

*Updated*
Jeremy will be a part of All-Star weekend
 in multiple ways, with his recent inclusion into the Rising Stars Challenge (Rookie-Sophomore game), as a helper to Iman Shumpert for the dunk contest, and possibly as part of the Shooting Stars competition.

“The New York Knicks point guard was added Thursday to the roster of players for the Feb. 24 game at All-Star Weekend in Orlando, just before Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley began drafting for their teams.

Sources with knowledge of the league’s plans told ESPN.com that Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert — one of four dunk-contest entrants — will be enlisting Lin to “assist” him in a manner similar to the help 2011 champion Blake Griffin got from then-Los Angeles Clippers teammate Baron Davis.

A league source Thursday confirmed a New York Daily News report that the NBA will make Lin part of the field for the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. That would enable Lin to join Shumpert’s dunk routine as well.

Victory 7 and Assist Career High

Knicks cruise to their 7th straight win, 100-85, against the lackluster Kings.  The Knicks were able to bench their starters early, which gave Jeremy some much needed rest after back-to-back games, but won’t fuel Linsanity quite as much with relatively less points scored for the night. That being said, Jeremy set another career high record of 13 assists in a single game in only 26 minutes of play. Along with the assists, he records his 3rd double-double with 10 points on 4-6 shooting.

7 Knicks players scored in the double digits as the ball was well distributed and organized on offense.

One of many alley-oop passes from Jeremy to his teammates:

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Clutch

Down by as much as 15 points at multiple points throughout the game, the Knicks had a comeback victory by taking the lead through a clutch 3-pointer by Jeremy in the final half second of the game against the Raptors. In the final two minutes of the game, the Knicks were down by 5, but quickly converted on a steal and dunk by Iman Shumpert, followed by an and-1 layup to tie the game by Jeremy, capped by his game winning 3-pointer. The Raptors were better than the Knicks in FG% (50.7% vs. 41.3%), rebounds (40 vs. 34), and blocks (11 vs. 2), but the Knicks were relentless on defense in the 4th quarter and clawed their way back for the win.

Jeremy finishes the game with his second double-double, scoring 27 points and dishing out 11 assists.

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Why Jeremy Lin Matters

Jeremy’s marketability to China is being played up greatly by the media and league to fill the void of the recently retired Yao Ming, but his real appeal has always been towards the Asian-American community. While not everybody follows basketball, the trials that Jeremy and his family have gone through despite his now undeniable talent is common place amongst educated Asian immigrants in the US and their children. Jeremy’s sudden jump in popularity is more of a correction rather than hype, as Kobe Bryant would testify in an interview after Jeremy scored a career high 38 points over the Lakers, “Players don’t come out of nowhere…If you go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning but no one ever noticed.” Although blatant racist remarks towards Jeremy were part of his Palo Alto High and Harvard experiences, it would be the subtle doubt that would shape the direction of his career away from Stanford and other D1 universities, away from the NBA court when the game was still in contention, and off the Warriors and Rockets rosters despite a low salary and an already developed skillset.

The themes of Jeremy’s journey are of passion, persistence, and risk. His top picks for colleges all denied him an athletic scholarship despite being one of the best high school players in California. While Harvard is hardly a consolation prize in most eyes, he joined for the athletics and not for academics, as his graduating GPA, while respectable, was well below the university average. The backup plan if no team picked him up after graduation was to become a pastor, as his Christian faith has played a huge part of his life. No graduate school or fancy job offers would be waiting for him if he didn’t sign with a team by the end of the summer. When he did get signed and joined the NBA, the majority of his time would be filled with impending doom, as he bounced from the end of the bench to time in the development league, leading to getting cut by two teams during the off season. Even his chances with the Knicks seemed slim, as the roster was filled with guards and all-star Baron Davis was just about ready to rejoin the roster after his injury. What propelled Jeremy to even get a chance during primetime minutes of a game were the disappointing performances of all three guards running point ahead of him on the roster, a losing Knicks record, and a delay in Baron Davis’ return. If even one of these factors outside of Jeremy’s control had changed, then he would have been cut and possibly have seen his NBA career ended before getting his big chance. Yet after all these brushes with career death, he kept on practicing and getting ready for his time to shine.

What is different about the Lin family is their dedication and non-conformist ideals. Even though Jeremy’s father, Gie-Ming, holds a doctorate in computer engineering and his mother, Shirley, has a degree in computer science, Jeremy did not consider, nor was he pressured to, following any of the stereotypical Asian career paths of being a doctor, lawyer, an engineer, etc. Gie-Ming himself spent countless hours and taught his sons to play basketball at their local YMCA. Gie-Ming was quoted in saying that “Many Asian families focus so much on academics… but it felt so good to play with my kids. I enjoyed it so much.” Basketball for the Lin family was not about padding a high school application to be subsequently dropped upon college acceptance, but a much loved activity that they would enjoy for the rest of their days at any level.

This passion for basketball would be what propelled Jeremy into uncharted and hostile territory, and his continued pursuit of an NBA career despite traditional paths being blocked and the outlet of a Harvard education presenting itself. For many players that eventually enter the NBA, fanfare and the perks of fame would be a part of their life long before they are drafted. Whether they were a heavily scouted high school hero, a starter on a high profile D1 university team, or the best a foreign country has to offer, by the time they reached the NBA, they already had a strong national following. In comparison, Jeremy’s early fans were mostly within the Asian-American community spread across the US, which made its presence known during his senior year at Harvard when they played at Santa Clara University and the majority of the 4,700 seats were there to celebrate “The Jeremy Lin Show” and that his teammates commented that the crowd “looks like Hong Kong”. Aside from other flashes of appreciation on NBA “Asian heritage nights”, Jeremy had a relatively quiet career where perks were at a minimum; how many other NBA players spent the last month crashing on the couches of his brother and teammate? Again, Jeremy persevered to success, with minimal intermediary rewards and recognition, and the doubts that weighed heavily throughout his career.

So why does Jeremy Lin matter? Not everybody plays basketball and even if they did, not everybody has his natural talents, so how can any of us succeed like him in our own respective fields? He matters because even with his extraordinary talent, he took arguably the most difficult career path for an Asian-American and barely broke through every racial handicap weighed upon him. With his success, we know what he was always capable of, but we also know that all of his supposed failures along the way did not happen because he “wasn’t good enough”. We realize that there are undoubtedly others like Jeremy Lin, but never got their chance to crack the rotation and instead got cut the next week. Through his story, the negative perceptions of Asians in the US become a genuine burden rather than an excuse downplayed by tiger moms for their children’s “laziness”. Through his story, we realize that even with flawless English, the best of the best All-American pedigrees, standing at 6’3” and weighing 200 lbs, and possessing elite level skills, we as Asian-Americans are still judged by the shape of our eyes. And now that we know it’s there beyond a doubt, we can take the first of many steps to get past it.

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