Jeremy Lin continues to be very tough to beat. The Palo Alto superstar keeps finding ways to run the offense as the starting point guard for the New York Knicks, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the latest victims. 19 points and 13 assists (with only 1 turnover) is about as efficient as it gets.
After the jump, an abbreviated highlight reel.
This is a resilient performance for Lin. For one, he got bloodied up early as you can see. And Cleveland poured it on and tried to exploit him as best they could. Lin's bloody nose didn't seem to stop him from coming back on the court and continuing to drive to the basket. Lin didn't just absorb contact, but he embraced it, and made it very tough for defenders such as Kyrie Irving to deal with him offensively, particularly considering how good he was passing the basketball tonight.
Lin didn't have to dominate the basketball as much as he did in previous nights. He made quick and active decisions. If the defender dropped off him to prevent the dribble drive, he didn't always stay back and try and nail a shot, but made a concerted effort to either drive inside or feed the ball inside to exploit Cleveland's porous defense on the interior.
Seth of Posting and Toasting seems to think Lin's performance needed some defensive polish, but the offensive production more than made up for it.
[Lin's] inability to stick with Kyrie Irving (nothing to be ashamed of) early demanded some Knick help rotations that just weren't gonna happen, but his offense was solid. The Cavs trapped him early, so he made quick bail-out passes and let someone like Carmelo Anthony operate from the weak side. Later, he got more aggressive driving to the rim (pretty sure none of his two-pointers came outside the paint, but ESPN shot charts aren't being helpful right now) and made some gorgeous entry passes from out on the perimeter. Irving or not, this really was some of the worst defense we've seen Lin play-- several blow-bys, a few silly rotations off of good shooters, and a couple costly fouls-- but he made up for it with an efficient and very productive offensive outing. Splendid recovery from a dismal last game and a very busy All-Star break.
More importantly for Lin, his teammates provided him with ample help. Baron Davis showed he could work as the backup. Carmelo Anthony did a good job slashing and scoring, and Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler did a good job cleaning up inside. All of them got some partial help thanks to great feeds and looks from Lin. Iman Shumpert returning to action and Steve Novak getting good looks also seems to be a result of better, crisper ball movement.
So despite the gaudy stat line, this was about as restrained as you can hope for Lin. He created, but he also let other players work with the basketball and ensure maximum offensive efficiency from most of the Knicks. You have to wonder if his unselfish, confident nature is permeating the entire team.
To discuss Linsanity, check out Posting and Toasting, our SB Nation Knicks site.