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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 02/16/2012

Jeremy Lin: Will Carmelo Anthony end Linsanity?

Trouble in Linland? The New York Knicks won their seventh straight game since Linsanity took hold of the team, the NBA, LinSPN and the universe, but Jeremy Lin, the undrafted Harvard point guard who started it all, had a relatively quiet game.

There was no three-point game-winner this time and Lin’s string of 20-point performances ended at six games. Instead, he — gasp — contributed what his team needed, 13 assists along with his 10 points, as the Knicks beat the Sacramento Kings 100-85 in Madison Square Garden. It was a welcome change, since he was playing too many minutes (averaging nearly 40 over the previous six games) and shooting too much and turning the ball over too often.

“As a point guard, my field-goal attempts have been really high,” Lin said. “I don’t think that’s necessarily good. I think it’s more my job to distribute and get people in rhythm. Hopefully, especially when Melo comes back, another lethal scorer, my shots will go down and my assists will go up.”

Ah, yes, Melo. Carmelo Anthony has missed the Lin show — as has most of Chinatown and New York City, thanks to the MSG-Time Warner Cable standoff that will someday end with everybody paying more for cable — with a strained groin and could begin playing again Friday. Perhaps he’ll be well enough to play in the Knicks’ nationally televised game against the Dallas Mavericks at 1 p.m. Sunday.


In Taipei, fans stop to watch Jeremy Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent, play in America. (Wally Santana / AP)
“Jeremy Lin was a blessing in disguise for us,” Anthony told LinSPN’s Stephen A. Smith. “He fell down from upstairs for us in the situation that we've been looking for a guy to take over that position. But it's going to take a lot of work, but I'm willing to do it, and we've all got to be willing to do it.”

Lin and Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni don’t foresee a problem. But Anthony — who says of Linsanity “I love it” — admits he wants the ball at the end of the game (“Of course, I want to take the last shot, let's be quite frank: I've been doing for nine years already, and I've made a ton of them.”). That doesn’t, he says, make him selfish.

“It's a tough situation. I'm human at the end of the day, so it's like damn, where is this coming from?” Anthony said. “I know I'm not a selfish player. People around me know I'm not a selfish player. I do everything I can to make people around me understand I'm not a selfish player.”

Somehow, it’s all going to have to be made to work, a burden that would seem to lie, as Charles Oakley says, with the coach and the veteran player. “Right now, he’s playing out of his mind,” Anthony said of Lin. “I think I can take some of that pressure off of him.”

Whatever. Linsanity — the man, the meme, the tour — rolls on as the NBA looks to find a role for its hottest story on All-Star Weekend. All but forgotten in the froth is the magic Eli Manning whipped up earlier this month. Lin and the Knicks, now at .500, have the city thinking about an NBA title, the Knicks’ first since 1973 and the heady, happy, wiggy days of Willis Reed and Walt Frazier.

“I thought it was going to be Patrick Ewing,” Reed told ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor. “But maybe it's going to be this kid.”

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By  |  09:00 AM ET, 02/16/2012

 
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