BREAKING: PM Kyrie Irving asked Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade, no longer wants to play with LeBron James. He would prefer to land with the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves or Miami Heat. (Credits pic to B/R)
Two years ago today, Mike D'Antoni took a chance in New Jersey and sparked one of the biggest underdog stories in sports.
NEW YORK Associated Press – Jeremy Lin cut through the Nets’ defense all night before he was finally surrounded.
As teammates hugged him at center court while Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” blasted through the arena, it was clear the New York Knicks had finally found a spark.
And even the Harvard-educated Lin struggled to explain how it ended up being him.
“This night, it just hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest,” he said. “It’s like I’m still kind of in shock about everything that happened but I’m just trying to soak it all in right now.”
Lin scored a career-high 25 points and the Knicks salvaged the finale of a back-to-back-to-back set by the New Jersey Nets 99-92 on Saturday night.
Lin came in to control a sluggish offense, adding a career-best seven assists while outplaying Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams.
Lin was the catalyst for the Knicks, who have been desperate for production at point guard while they wait for Baron Davis to finally become available. Lin was a hit with the fans practically from the moment he checked in, and some of the loudest cheers of this disappointing season roared through Madison Square Garden when his three-point play made it 95-86 with 2:03 remaining.
He scored on the next possession to make it an 11-point game as chants of “Jeremy! Jeremy!” broke out.
The Knicks’ struggles had created speculation that Mike D'Antoni’s job could be in jeopardy, especially if the Knicks had dropped this one and fallen behind the Nets in the Atlantic Division standings. But he said before the game there was no reason to panic and that he still believed in his players.
He had noted how much they struggled to score beyond Anthony and Stoudemire, needing someone else to step up. He found that someone in Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
“He gives us a good feel,” D'Antoni said.
The second-year pro has hardly been a factor and even was sent to the NBA Development League recently, where he had a triple-double. But searching for someone to run his pick-and-roll offense, D'Antoni gave him a chance last Saturday at the end of a road trip, though it’s hard to imagine he saw this coming, given his concerns about Lin’s defensive abilities.
“I had my doubts, but we just stayed with it and he has some of the qualities that we needed,” D'Antoni said.
Lin drove along the baseline and fed Stoudemire for the tiebreaking basket, then scored on his own drive for an 86-82 lead with 4:59 left. Stoudemire scored again, and after a jumper by Williams, Chandler converted a three-point play for a 91-84 lead before Lin put it away.
The Nets raced to a 17-7 lead and were ahead 30-20 after one quarter behind 10 points from Williams. But with Lin playing the entire second quarter in rare first-half playing time, the Knicks seemed to get a spark on both ends of the floor.
Lin had team highs of six points and three assists in the second quarter, including a lob to Chandler that allowed the Knicks to tie it at 46 with 1:32 remaining.
The warm breeze swept through the evening air and through the window making Selena’s hair fly across her face. She scrunched up her nose as she tucked the loose strands that fell from her ponytail behind her ear. A soft smile graced her features as she looked out into her yard from her spot in the kitchen. She dropped the dish towel she was using into the sink as she walked towards her back porch. Her backyard was probably as big as a football field and her house was everything she wanted it to be. She had put a lot of effort into her home and it all paid off. She curved her hand over her eyebrows to shield the sun from her vision as she watched two very important boys in her life play catch.
“Dylan, be careful!” She yelled at her brother who threw the baseball as if was pitching to a major league instead of her five year old son.
The toothy blonde boy smiled as he waved his glove covered hand in the air, “I got it, momma!”
Selena smiled as she clapped her hands, “I see that, baby.”
“Conner, buddy,” Dylan said as he came near the small child. “Give me and mommy a second to talk, okay?”
Conner nodded and happily obliged as he practiced throwing and catching the ball by himself. Selena watched him for a moment, a happy smile on her face before she pivoted to her elder brother who nodded towards the couch that was positioned against the house on the porch. She sat beside him, tucking her legs under her body.
“How you feeling?” He asked.
“I’m fine,” she answered immediately as her eyes casted over to Conner who was now finding interest in the flowers she had planted a few days back. When she turned her attention back to him, she noticed his eyebrows rose as if he didn’t believe her. “Dylan, really.”
The boy put his hands up in mock surrender, “I’m sorry, I’m just asking.”
She nodded her head and dug her teeth into her bottom lip when the silence enveloped them, “I miss him,” she finally whispered causing her brother to snap his head to look at her.
Dylan placed his arm around his sister’s shoulder bringing her into his side, “I know,” he said into her hair which was now dirty blonde and cut just below her shoulders. “I think I have a way to cheer you up though.”
She furrowed her eyebrows but before she could ask what, he was slipping inside the house leaving her and her son outside. Instead of following him, she walked down to the grass and quickly scooped up Conner in her arms from behind making the boy squeal in surprise. She planted several kisses onto his cheek before setting him down again.
Selena spun around at the voice and her eyes widened at the sight. Justin stood there with his duffle bag over his shoulder and his light tousled locks made his new tan stand out. It had been almost four full weeks since she’d last seen him in person – his busy basketball schedule took up a lot of his time and they all hated it. She tried to come visit him along with Connor but with their son now in school and her being a teacher they didn’t have much time to take breaks.