When the NBA season began, the New York Knicks point guard situation looked something like this:
Starter: Toney Douglas
Backup: Mike Bibby
Would-be third-stringer when healthy: Baron Davis
Iman Shumpert is a rookie sharpshooter from Georgia Tech, drafted No. 17 overall in last June’s draft.
Jeremy Lin is an undrafted second-year point guard out of Harvard, and the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
And over the last two games, he’s become the Knicks’ biggest offensive weapon, pouring in 25 and 28 points in a pair of victories.
Monday night, in his first career start, Lin scored a career-high 28, along with eight assists. He also had eight turnovers, but those were easily overlooked in a 99-88 victory — which gave the Knicks their first consecutive wins since Jan. 11.
So where did this guy come from? After a record-breaking career at Harvard, Lin played 29 games for Golden State last season, averaging a modest 2.6 points in just under 10 minutes per game. He had played more than six minutes for the Knicks only once this season before logging 36 in Saturday’s win over the Nets. Last night he played 45.
And the Knicks certainly needed him. New York played without Amare Stoudemire — who left the team to join his family in Florida after his older brother was killed in a car crash earlier Monday. And just six minutes into the game, All-Star pick Carmelo Anthony left the game with a strained groin.
“Basketball’s so fun when you play on a team where people want to work together and work through tough times and overcome them and have victories like this,” Lin said. “This one was ugly and we lost a couple of players, but this team has a lot of will.”
Whether Lin is able to stick in New York’s starting lineup is anyone’s guess, but he brings a true point guard presence the team was sorely lacking. And for now, at least, he’s not going anywhere.
“I’m riding him like freakin’ Secretariat,” a giddy Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game.
As for Lin, he’s already drawing comparisons to Tim Tebow for his outward display of Christian faith. The guy also seems to be enjoying himself on the court, and the term “Linsanity” is all over the sports networks. And New York Magazine has a few suggestions for more suitable nicknames than the “J-Lin” moniker Lin currently carries.
Will Lin become the latest pro sports underdog story to catch fire? How long can he keep this up?
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