Article first published as Knick Knacks: Jeremy Lin Makes Watching the Knicks Fun Again on Blogcritics.
At this point the New York Knicks are interesting again because of a young player named Jeremy Lin, the first American born player of Chinese descent (and only the fourth Chinese player in history) in the NBA. Coming over to the Knicks from the Golden State Warriors, Lin has come off the bench in the absence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and lit up Madison Square Garden. I am happy to say I have a reason to watch Knicks games again.
In the past I would have turned last night's game off long before the fourth quarter because I would have just figured they would lose, but I kept watching and was not disappointed. With 4.9 seconds left in the game against Ricky Rubio (another sensation that has salvaged his team's season) and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Lin hit a free throw and the Knicks won their fifth straight 100-98. If he keeps going like this, one day this kid will have his jersey hanging from the rafters at the Garden, at least it seems that way right now.
This enthusiastic and talented young player is 5-0 as a starter and has brought the Knicks up to 13-15. The team has won those five games without their big stars, and one can see a difference in the whole team. Certainly coach Mike D'Antoni looks like a different man (like someone with a reprieve from the gallows?), and he was not that long ago looking like New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin did after his Giants lost four in a row last year. Of course, we know things turned out quite well for Coughlin as he won the Super Bowl, and now there is light at the end of the tunnel for Knicks fans, and we have reason to watch or to even venture out into the cold and go to the Garden to see games again.
What does Lin have that has made the difference? I think if you look at all the reasons why the Knicks were doing poorly before Lin came off the bench to change things, it especially had to do with the two big guys looking weary out there, and that created a lethargy in the team as a whole. Now we know Anthony is hurting and feared the worst about Amar'e being able to make it through this condensed season without breaking down, and it seemed there was just no defense even with the welcome arrival of Tyson Chandler this year.
Jeremy Lin at point guard has scored 126 points in five games as a starter. He has also shown such determination, dedication, and has inspired his teammates and fans with his winning attitude. So people can say that "he came out of nowhere" or whatever else they want to say, but this young man may not only be the reason to watch the Knicks but actually to hope for a chance for the playoffs.
We have to wonder what will happen when Anthony and Stoudemire return, but they themselves must be invigorated by seeing what this kid can do, and you can rest assured that D'Antoni is going to have Lin in that lineup every night. He had better because Lin has saved the coach and the season. I can honestly say I can't wait to see the next game against Toronto, and I haven't had that feeling in a long, long time. Thank you, Jeremy Lin!
Photo Credits - NY Daily News