New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin had another solid game statistically against the New Jersey Nets, but compared to the absolutely insane standards that have suddenly been placed on him, this was a disappointing performance, largely because he was overshadowed by Deron Williams. Williams put together an incredible performance that left Lin and the Knicks in the dust on Monday night.
Williams was pretty much unstoppable from behind the arc, and he made it a point of interest to not get surprised by Lin a second time around. Lin has struggled to fight over screens in his young career, and he got fooled on a couple of occasions.
- Lin, overall, had one of his worst games since he's been a Knick. His defense on Williams did pick up as the game progressed-- again, there was a point at which Deron could've hit a three with a bag over his head-- but he got proper smoked in this one. On offense, Lin ended up with a solid if inefficient line, but looked pretty out of sorts. He, perhaps more than any other Knick, tried to create too much for himself. Lin forced some bad, untimely attempts and occasionally went hunting in vain for foul calls. Again, he put up numbers-- 21, 9, 7, 4 steals, and just 3 turnovers-- but did it inefficiently and with spotty decision-making throughout. Nothing to freak out about, just not a good night. This is where we remind ourselves of who Jeremy Lin is and where he came from, and also notice the fact that even on a bad night...shit, that's quite a line.
Indeed, there were bright spots, particularly Lin's ability to fight through the rough patches and turn in a fine overall effort, even if it won't go in the Jeremy Lin pantheon.
Here are the highlights for Lin.
In general, Lin was having trouble meshing with new parts Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, as well as the still-struggling Amare Stoudemire. The offense never looked terribly crisp and everyone seemed to be functioning haphazardly. The performance was filled with the same issues that plagued the Knicks before Linsanity took off.
It'd be hard to say that Lin and Carmelo can't function together. It's clear they can. Lin and Melo did work a high screen and roll on a few occasions, and Anthony did get an easy basket off the ball. But right now it seems the team has hit a bit of a wall, and it can only be resolved with time and reps. A lot of players are being reinserted back into the rotation, meaning that everyone needs to share the rock more. Lin doesn't need to handle the ball on every possession. But the offense has yet to gel with these new players the way it did when Lin was totally in control of the show.
Right now, the Knicks are having trouble figuring out how to get players who are so used to controlling and moving with the basketball to move without the basketball. Many of these talented players stood around and watched Lin on too many possessions, forcing him to take the most shots. That shouldn't happen, not with guys like Stoudemire and Anthony featured prominently.
Still, these are growing pains for all the players. Smith has proven he can put himself back in order when he has a capable point guard leading him, as has Melo (2008-09 Denver Nuggets anyone?). Stoudemire has been a pick and roll monster for ages, and should be okay if he gets fully healthy. Lin has talent around him now, and it's hard to see him failing with more talented players. If 21 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals and only three turnovers is a bad performance from him, then he's probably going to be able to stick through it.