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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 02/23/2012

Jeremy Lin vs. LeBron James: Knicks-Heat rivalry gets some hype

“Let’s not get caught up in the hype,” ESPN’s Bruce Bowen cautioned in a lengthy live shot this morning from American Airlines Arena in Miami.

No, let’s not get all hype-y. The New York Knicks versus the Miami Heat is always something of a big deal, even though the great playoff games were about a decade ago. This is no different, right? “It’s not about Jeremy Lin versus LeBron James,” Dwyane Wade said. “It’s the Miami Heat versus the New York Knicks.”

Um, yeah. Right. This is Linsanity, which means that some court-level tickets are going for nearly $10,000 on the secondary market, the Miami Herald reports. ESPN reports the average ticket price for tonight’s game is $618.23, up from $218.54. The 7 p.m. game is nationally televised on TNT and there’ll be celebrity fannies in the seats, along with, just possibly, some famous political faces in the stands.


Jeremy Lin. (Chris Trotman / Getty Images)
James, no surprise, was kind of embracing the hype. “Everyone knows the history between the Knicks and Heat, then you bring in the ‘Jeremy Lin Linsation,’ you bring in the Miami Heat, Carmelo Anthony and those guys and Amar’e Stoudemire, Spike Lee, Pat Riley and all that and it’s a huge game,” James said.

The last time he actually played against Miami, Lin was wearing a Golden State Warriors uniform. He had an offensive rebound, two assists and a steal in 3 minutes, 20 seconds in garbage time of a Heat blowout. When the teams met again three weeks later, he was inactive. Nor did he play on Jan. 27 in a Knicks uniform, as Miami won by 10 points.

Both teams are hot. The 17-17 Knicks are 9-2 in 11 games with Lin starting; Miami is 26-7. Lin wasn’t about to say anything provocative about King James and the Heat. “I know I’m going to end up guarding Lin at some point,” James said.

No sense stirring that pot. “Obviously, LeBron is a great player and a great, great defender,” Lin said Wednesday night. “So I've just got to be aggressive and not change anything on my end.”


LeBron James. (TAMI CHAPPELL / Reuters)
James seemed pretty excited about the game, even if only to distract from a report about his demanding eating habits.

“It’s the game right before All-Star [Weekend], but it won’t be like ‘that’ game before All-Star, like people are accustomed to. Everybody always says, you know, the game before All-Star, people are ready to get to All-Star weekend. I don’t think so,” James said. “Just knowing the rivalry, knowing the history between the Heat and Knicks. It could be one of the most watched games we’ve had in a long time, especially with what Jeremy Lin is doing.”

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By  |  12:34 PM ET, 02/23/2012

 
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