|The Ultimate World Cup of Hockey Preview||LeBron James: A Performance for the Ages||RIP Muhammad Ali: The GOAT||Steph and the Warriors came out to play|
After a sloppy home loss to New Orleans Friday night, Lin-Sanity prevailed on Sunday, and was in full-effect. Jeremy Lin’s 28-points, 14 assists and 5 steals propelled the Knicks to victory against Dirk Nowitski and the defending champion Mavericks, 104-97.
The Knicks (16-16) have now won eight of their last nine games, while the Mavs (20-12) had their current winning steak stopped at six. Nowitski had a season-high 34 points for Dallas, who after a sluggish start to the season, had been playing championship level of basketball of late, especially on the defensive end. Instead, Dallas and their defense has just become the latest to be victimized by Lin and his storybook joyride. Steve Novak added 14 points for New York, while J.R. Smith had 15 in his Knicks debut.
In a wild and momentous game, the Knicks recorded 17 straight points in the first quarter, fell behind by 12 in the third quarter, then managed to stage a dramatic comeback in the fourth quarter to secure another impressive victory.
Lin had nine turnovers in Friday’s loss, which tied for the most in the NBA this season. But Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni told Lin to keep playing with confidence and to continue playing his style of game as a bit of a risk taker. Lin showed no hesitancy in a season high 46 minutes on the floor, excelling to bring the Knicks back into a game that seemed to be slipping away from them in the third quarter.
The Knicks got hot just in time during the fourth quarter. Novak went off to hit four 3-pointers in a five-minute span. Lin buried a three of his own over the outstretched arms of Dirk to give the Knicks a 90-81 lead with 6:51 remaining. The Mavs then got it back down to two on a Jason Terry 3-pointer with 3:26 left. But Lin responded by nailing another trey. The Mavs wouldn’t get closer then three again, as the Knicks capped off the victory frustrating Dallas with some more stellar team defense.
Again the Knicks were without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who missed his seventh straight game with a groin injury. In his absence, Smith was a big help, providing some very necessary scoring punch. Smith was just singed on Friday after he returned from his season in China. D’Antoni originally did not intend on using Smith to play in the game because he still had yet to practice with the team, but, Bill Walker wasn’t able to play due to an elbow flare-up. Lacking any other wingman/scoring type, D’Antoni opted to go ahead with Smith and throw him straight into the action.
In an interesting maneuver, D’Antoni started Iman Shumpert in place of Anthony/Walker. Shumpert has made a good impression with his defensive prowess thus far into his rookie season, though normally did so guarding point guards his size or smaller. Now, he was being asked to guard Dirk, who exploited Shumpert easily, utilizing his sizable advantage in hight and stature. In relief of Shumpert, Jared Jeffries was able to stifle Nowitski at least a little, which made a significant enough impact.
Tyson Chandler was his usual tenacious self (14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) manning the middle against his former team in which he helped win a title for.
Lin-Sanity resumes for the Knicks on Monday night in a rematch of where it all got started on February 4th – against the Nets at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Upcoming Games before the All-Star Break: