NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks drives against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Would y'all be mad if I gave the Player of the Week to a member of an opposing team? Seriously, that's how good Jeremy Lin has been for the Knicks. That's how great a story this "Lin-sanity" (or whatever clever pun you want to use) is. So much, that I'm a little embarrassed to admit that his "slicing and dicing" was quite fun to watch. Even if he destroyed my beloved Lakers. I didn't even care.
You just had to have a feeling that Lin might carve the Lakers up. A match-up against Fish is typically a reason for any point guard to look good (Aaron Brooks anybody?), but the Lakers were clearly worn down from the road trip, especially coming off a hard played overtime game against their biggest rivals just the night before. All of Fish's bumping and grinding wasn't enough to stop Lin from stepping up in his first real chance in the spotlight. He drove through the lane like it was a drill, nailed shot after shot, and looked so damned Steve-Nashian while doing it. Not only did he do it on national TV against the Lakers, who sport a top defense, Lin also made Kobe Bryant an after thought in an arena where Kobe's affection is reciprocated. In New York, where Kobe always looks to do something special for a respectful and appreciative Knicks fanbase. Kobe in Madison Square and it was Jeremy Lin who was the show? Tip of the cap, my man.
All of a sudden, the Knicks have hope again. If Lin is the real deal in Mike D'Antoni's system, the pieces they have could make the Seven Second or Less Suns a distant memory in our minds. We know what D'Antoni's 7SOL offense looked like with Amar'e in Phoenix, but Steve Nash never had a weapon like 'Melo by his side, nor a center like Tyson Chandler controlling the defense. Just like that, the Knicks future looks bright after failing with two supposed superstars who were supposed to return the Knicks to glory. Who cares about Lin's heritage? What he's accomplishing in such a short span -- with no warning, nor blue chip background, thrust into the spotlight after just getting signed-- is worth every second SportsCenter uses to milk this story. We love underdogs, and Lin has very loudly made us all feel that hard work and determination go a long way when taken advantage of. His story isn't just about basketball. It's a heartwarming life lesson we should all pay attention to. He's symbolic of making the most of the opportunities when given the chance. He's not just opening the door in front of him, he's busting the damn thing down. His journey to the stage he's shining on is more impressive than his gaudy box score. 38 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 win, but millions of people who now believe. And they're not just Knicks fans.
*Pau Gasol is the Lakers' Player of the Week largely due to his great play against the hated Celtics. He averaged 19 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in three contests this week. Nice numbers, but his aggressive determination, overtime-inducing tip, and game-saving block against Ray Allen and the Celtics are what give Pau his second POTW of the season.
Highlights after the Jump...
Here's this week's highlights. Courtesy of LakersMedia.com & JD2K:
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