LINsanity hit a major bump in the road in Miami against the Heat (27-7), and the team (Lin in particularly) looked less than up to the challenge of facing LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh (who led Miami with 25 points) and company on the road.
At times Lin looked like a junior varsity player thrown out on the hardwood with the big boys, but one can at least give him the benefit of the doubt, and as Knicks head coach Mike D’Anotni said afterwards, “It’s one game.” For now we can try to accept that.
So the Knicks go into the break 17-18 and face what is a reality check. They trail Philadelphia by 3 1/2 games in the Atlantic Division, but Miami looms large at the top of the Southeast leading Orlando by 5 1/2 games. If the Knicks can get into the first round (not playing Miami at that point), maybe they can get lucky and maybe they can up the ante as Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Lin, and the rest find a way to get this team to gel under D’Antoni’s score more than the other guy game plan.
At this point we Knicks fans have been living in a bubble – a big, beautiful bubble with Jeremy Lin’s face on it. I heard on sports radio the other day that James was a bit annoyed when members of the press kept asking him about Jeremy Lin. Finally, I heard James say something about noticing the commotion but being too involved in his own team to think much about Lin or the Knicks. Of course, a king is rarely concerned with members of some other prince’s court, still with two Sports Illustrated covers under his belt, Lin is kind of hard to ignore no matter how much King James protests too much.
The All-Star Break does present an opportunity, especially in this shortened and condensed season, for the Knicks to take stock of what has happened over these first 35 games. It has been an incredible ride to be sure, but like any roller coaster, it’s going to have its down moments, and this is one of them. Now it is up to D’Antoni and his players to find a way to harness the goodwill generated by Lin, bring everyone together on the court, and make sure there are more ups than downs the rest of the way.
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