Linsanity struck once again Friday night as the shorthanded Knicks knocked off the Los Angeles
Rapers Lakers 92-85 at the worlds most famous arena. The Black Mamba was upstaged by the Yellow Mamba, Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Critics predicted Lin would struggle against the size and supposed “skill” of the Laker defense. Instead, Lin thrived and recorded a career high 38 points to go along with 10 assists. Kobe Bryant however forgot how to pass and shot just 10/28 from the floor. He had 34 points but he was ineffective for most of the game. Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert did a great job suffocating Bryant all night. Tyson Chandler (more on him later) did a fantastic job on Andrew “I’m not the best center in the league” Bynum, holding the supposedly skilled center to 3 points on 1/8 shooting.
Here are my notes from the game:
- What happened Mamba? We knew that Chandler could guard Bynum. We knew Gasol was soft and would complain to the officials the whole game. We knew that the Lakers bench + Fisher and Metta World Hunger sucked. We all assumed that Kobe would be his usual dominant self at Madison Square Garden. He wasn’t. He sucked. There’s no other way to say it. Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert did a fantastic job guarding the mamba. They did a fantastic job of keeping him out of the paint. Of his whopping 29 shot attempts, in which he hit only 11 of them, only 5 of his attempts came within 9 feet of the hoop. The Knicks were able to force the league’s most arrogant player into 24 shots beyond 10 feet. Bryant took 12 shots from 16-23 feet and was able to connect on 3 of them. Anytime a guy shoots 29 times and gets to the free throw line 13 times (although he got some generous “superstar” calls) he is going to score points. In this game, Bryant’s point total is not indicative of how he actually played. He struggled to score against the Knicks shooting guards and late in the game he reverted back to head case Bryant from 2005 and shot almost every possession. As a passionate Kobe hater, I loved seeing him shoot brick after brick after brick. I loved seeing him attempt that mid-range pump fake to no avail. I loved seeing the frustration on his face the whole second half. I hate him with a passion and I loved seeing the Knicks finally kick his ass after years of Bryant dominance.
- Before I go on to praise the Knicks, I just want to say that Bibby and Walker absolutely suck. They were horrific again. I like Bibby and want him to succeed but he just cannot buy a shot now. He has yet to hit a shot in February. I hate Walker, as you all should know, and he never fails to give me material. Whether its airmailing a fast break pass out of bounds or shooting 3/11 from the floor, Walker never disappoints to be disappointing. We have seen him get hot shooting but it does the Knicks no good for him to play 7 horrible games and 1 good one. He has to find some consistency, and preferably a brain as well, or else he will continue to be a very weak link on a team that already has bench problems.
- Tyson Chandler>Andrew Bynum tonight. All I hear is how Andrew Bynum is sooooooooooooo good and how he’s just as good as Dwight Howard offensively. I don’t think so. I’ve never thought so. I always thought he was a mentally weak, physically liable, overrated walking injury of a center. Sure he is a good player, I’ll concede that. In this historically weak era of centers, Bynum is a top 5 center but he is no Dwight Howard. Against Tyson Chandler, the overrated Bynum scored 3 points on 1-8 shooting. I didn’t see this great skill he’s supposed to have. He had no fade away, he had no hook shot. He tried to back Chandler down into the camera men and when he couldn’t do it he flailed bricks at the rim. Chandler has been absolutely dominant defensively this year. He has held Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum to 8 points and 3 points respectively in two games this season. These are the best centers, or at least the best center and an overrated one, the NBA has to offer and Chandler is beating them up defensively. I believe Chandler should garner serious player of the year consideration as he has been the reason the Knicks defense has improved this year.
Ron ArtestMetta World Hunger really cost the Lakers. I loved seeing the supposedly cool headed (yea right) ArtestHunger loose his cool in the 3rd quarter. He had a sequence where he committed 3 fouls in a row and put the Knicks into the penalty with like 5 minutes left in the quarter. The ensuing free throws the Knicks shot the rest of that quarter were huge as the Knicks offense did struggle in the 3rd. New York can thank Hunger for his blatantly un-necessary and stupid fouls really helped them get the necessary points to win this game.
- Derek Fisher, don’t be discouraged. Life in an old people’s home isn’t that bad…
- “Coach is an offensive genius” – Jeremy Lin
- “I love playing for this team. I love playing for this coach” – Jeremy Lin
- So Knick fans, you still think D’Antoni sucks? You could have Mike Brown as the coach, who reverts to a 3 foot tall midget in the presence of all-star players. The Lakers weren’t even coached tonight. Kobe ran the entire offense which means he shot a lot and didn’t pass a lot. 29 shot attempts to 1 assist… Yea D’Antoni doesn’t know how to run offense. Insert a point guard and D’Antoni’s team is 4-0 this season. The Knicks are playing defense, ranked 10th in defensive PER, so the “he can’t coach defense” argument sucks too. The guy is doing a great job the past 4 games and it is about time people start to give him some credit.
- Jared Jeffries was very good tonight. He did a nice job on the wildly finesse Pau Gasol. The Laker big man had 16 points and 10 boards but his presence was rarely felt. Jeffries recored 11 points and 9 rebounds tonight. I thought he did a great job on both ends of the court as he moved the ball and was efficient offensively and was his usual intelligent and effective self defensively. Another great game for Jeffries.
- Linsane in the Membrane. This kid really is unbelievable. In a game in which I expected Lin to play a solid game, he far exceeded my expectation. The Knick phenom scored a career high 38 points. 38 points!! He was absolutely fantastic. From the start he did a great job hitting his shots, which people said he couldn’t do. Lin did a great job of getting in the paint and finishing against the “elite” Laker defenders, another thing that he wouldn’t be able to do. The best thing Lin did tonight was destroy Derek Fisher on both ends of the court. Fisher, one of my least favorite players in the league, was completely out matched and out foxed by Lin. Fisher reverted to the Laker way to try and slow down Lin. While Lin drove by him and crossed him up, Fisher continually fouled him and then complained to the officials afterwards. Vintage Lakers basketball. In the 2nd quarter, Lin took a rebound coast to coast and finished it off with a nasty spin move on Fisher. I loved every second of it. More impressively tonight was Lin’s ability to hit open jump shots tonight. Critics believe that Lin cannot shoot but tonight he was very good from the perimeter. He was 4/6 from mid-range and 2/4 from outside the arc. If Lin can shoot like this consistently then he is going to be near impossible to guard. Also, I love how “anti-LeBron” Lin has been in his first 3 starts. In each game, Lin has been very good in the 4th quarter and in games against real teams, sorry Washington, Lin has been very clutch. Tonight, he put the game away with numerous clutch 4th quarter baskets, including a 3 point dagger with about 5 minutes left in the game. I love everything about the way this kid plays. He is quick, tough, smart and clutch. He is not a fluke. As D’Antoni pointed out, the things Lin does well are not flukey type things. He is not shooting 8/9 from outside the arc every game. He isn’t shooting a ton of tough mid-range shots and making his living there. Lin is great at reading the pick and roll, he is quick, he is exceptional in reading the court, he has an elite first step and he plays great defense. None of those are things that will go away. Jeremy Lin is here to stay and hopefully Mike D’Antoni will be as well.
- I just love to see this, it never gets old