Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks stepped up big against the Miami Heat. He saw Dwayne Wade charging right at him, and he knew he had to step in and take the contact. And there he was, ready to haul inside and take the contact.
And he did! And that's the extent of the Jeremy Lin highlight show.
There isn't really much of a surprise. The Miami Heat are blitzing the NBA right now, and Lin and the Knicks were the latest victims. Lin's turnover issues became even more pronounced Thursday night when Mario Chalmers played him full-court on multiple possessions, stripping him once in the backcourt for an easy layup. Then Norris Cole got right up on him and did similar things. Multiple Heat defenders were ready to crash in and help on the defense against Lin, and it was wildly successful.
Lin is a solid basketball player, but he's no LeBron James or Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade, and more importantly, he's no Carmelo Anthony. This wasn't his game to win or to lead. This was Anthony's chance to regain leadership of the locker room and prove he was the player the Knicks need the most to become champions, not just playoff-worthy (as Lin had done).
Only he wasn't ready. Anthony should've been running more of the offense against the Heat, because he does have the athleticism and the strength to handle these high-intense possessions. Anthony sitting in the corner and waiting for Lin to give him the ball was a bit of a waste; this is the game where he should have been the one taking all the shots and making all the big decisions, because Lin was left out an island and marooned by his teammates while the Heat defense swarmed endlessly, constantly.
Anthony needs to play a part in this role, a much bigger one (as Ken Berger of CBS Sports notes). The Heat are too good for Lin to overcome on his own, too much for Mike D'Antoni's offensive schemes to overcome. The over-reliance on the point guard generally leaves him vulnerable to vicious counterattacks, and the turnover-prone Lin generated too many easy Miami baskets. It was an onslaught that too many teams have become familiar with, and now Lin can join the party.
Lin can certainly play well against a majority of teams, but being the focal point against James and Wade is too much to handle. Anthony and Amare Stoudemire both need to start making their All-Star weight felt, or the Knicks will be plateauing soon enough.