It was only a matter of time before we saw a bad game from Jeremy Lin. It was a real shame for the New York Knicks that it came in such a big time matchup against the Miami Heat. The Knicks finally got their chance to prove they could contend in the Eastern Conference. They didn’t come through.
The Heat seemed like they game-planned for Lin and the Knicks from the beginning. Whichever guard was out there, whether it was Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole, they were up in Lin’s grill, pressuring the ball non-stop. Cole and Chalmers both picked Lin’s pocket and took it the other way for a dunk at the other end. Those were just two of Lin’s 8 turnovers in the game, which matched his point total. He was 1 for 11 from the field and just looked frustrated all night. I’m not sure if he’s worn out from playing at such a high level for so long or if he just couldn’t handle the pressure of playing against the hottest team in the NBA.
But that was just the beginning for the Knicks. With Lin struggling, they needed someone else to step up at point guard. Baron Davis got the opportunity and he wasn’t any better. Davis, who was originally going to be the “savior” for the Knicks at point guard once he got back from injury, was 0 of 7 from the field in his 3rd game back. It looked like he was trying to earn the starting spot over Lin and take over the game, chunking up a few ill advised three-pointers that barely even hit the rim.
Aside from Davis, the second unit actually didn’t look too bad. J.R. Smith hit a couple big shots and Steve Novak was 4 of 5 from behind the arc. They kept the Knicks in it for a while.
But the Knicks just never seemed to get it going. Even though they stayed within a few baskets for most of the game, they never made that run that was going to be essential if they were going to steal the win. The pick-and-roll, which is a big part of their offense, just wasn’t clicking. They were outmatched by a more athletic and physical basketball team.
The All-Star break is going to be great for the Knicks. They have a lot to work out. It’s clear that they haven’t really found a way for Carmelo Anthony to get involved in this offense. Anthony was 7 for 20 from the field and most of the game had to create his own (tough) shots. Jeremy Lin definitely needs the rest, the pressure and attention may be finally taking its toll on him, he really looked tired out there.
It’s not panic time for the Knicks, but they definitely need some adjustments. They proved that they can’t hang with the best in the East and that their point guards are far from “Lin-vincible.” This game was a huge wake up call, it’s up to the Knicks to decide if they want to answer it.
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