Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony were playing together for the first time since an outbreak of Linsanity engulfed the New York Knicks and pro basketball and the results were decidedly mixed — because Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets were men on a mission.
The Nets got revenge with a 100-92 win, atoning for the whole Linsanity thing that began when Lin led the Knicks past Williams and the Nets on Feb. 4. (“We took it personal a little bit,” Williams said.) The Knicks were hoping to discover that Anthony and Lin could play seamlessly from the outset.
Williams, with 38 points (and eight three-pointers), got the best of Lin, who had 21 points (7 of 18 field goals) and nine assists — and fouled out. Anthony, who’d been out since Feb. 6 with a groin injury, had 11 points and made only 4 of 11 shots from the field, with six turnovers. (New York Post headline: “Marsh-Melo.”)
“Like I said, I had this one circled,” Williams said (via CBS’ Ken Berger). “I don’t really watch ‘SportsCenter.’ I don’t really watch too many games. But I do see Twitter. People tweet me and every three lines was, ‘Jeremy Lin destroys Deron Williams.’ So I definitely took offense to that. I had it circled.”
And Lin and Melo? Coach Mike D’Antoni hopes to run some, um, spirited practices during the upcoming All-Star break in order “to figure out the type of team, the identity we have to have.” Added to the mix are J.R. Smith, signed last week, and Baron Davis, who played in his first game with New York on Monday night.
Anthony says he knows the plan — the team was, after all, 6-1 when he was out and Lin had a starring role. “I want Jeremy to have the ball. Hands down,” Anthony said. “I want him to create for me. I want him to create for Amar’e [Stoudamire]. I want him to create for everybody and still be as aggressive as he's been over the past two weeks. I want that.”
Lin said he’s not concerned about chemistry or Carmelo.
“We are not in panic mode because it is not like people show up and you have great chemistry. We both can make plays,’’ Lin said. “We need to find a good balance. It’s a little tough with no practice time — it is Day 1.’’
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