Quick Reaction: Lins 90, Raptors 87

New York Knicks 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
87 Toronto Raptors
Amare Stoudemire, PF 34 MIN | 8-22 FG | 5-5 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | 0

I’ll attribute Amar’e’s general lack of springiness/getting stuffed repeatedly by the likes of Aaron Gray to the fact that he’s been idle for a week grieving. His defense (or as the right proper Canandians put it all night, “defence”) was pretty indefencible. Nor was the synergy between he and Lin on the pick and roll instantaneous, as some would have hoped. That said, after a 3-13 start, he did hit 6 of 9 the rest of the way. A decent effort for his first game back.

Bill Walker, SG 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -1

You know historical etymology of the term, “scapegoat?” Interestingly, it’s derived from the Ancient Hebrews. On the Day of Atonement, a Rabbi would take an actual goat to the middle of the public square and confess the sins of all the people in the village whilst clutching said goat’s head. The goat would then be sent out into the desert to die, presumably carrying all the communal sins with him, thereby absolving the Chosen People.

I mention this because I wouldn’t be surprised if Billy’s dreds are there just to cover up a pain of nubbin-like horns. Baffling turnovers and sloppy play aside, he played some decent defence (I’m not letting this go) against the likes of DeRozan and Johnson and hit a couple of big treys in the third. While not a stellar outing, it isn’t worthy of the blood-curlding bile he’s on the receiving end of in the Game Thread. Gummy seems to have replaced _______ as the chief object of scorn for Knickerbloggeristas, who would be thrilled if D’Antoni would drop Walker off in the Mojave somewhere (or at least to the end of the bench).

Tyson Chandler, C 28 MIN | 5-5 FG | 3-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +2

Why can’t Tyson hit free throws anymore? Seriously, I’m asking. Does anyone know? At the end of the 4th, when he stepped to the line, I jotted in my notes, “He’s missing both of these.” His percentage has dropped 10 points in the midst of this glorious run and our volatile Centre has got to be more careful about his histrionic kvetching (deservedly or not) when the calls don’t go his way. Mark my words, he’s going to miss a game down the line for Rasheed Wallace-ing.

Landry Fields, G 37 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | +3

Some nice peripheral stats from Landry, but his shot is still woefully broken. In a starting lineup that in the near future will include Melo, STAT, Chandler and Lin, it’s imperative that the SG be a three point threat. So much of the rest of his game has returned that I feel fairly confident predicting that like the prodigal Lin, his jumper will return.

Jeremy Lin, PG 43 MIN | 9-20 FG | 7-11 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 27 PTS | +5

Just unreal. This is magic. It’s so improbable that makes a dyed-in-the-wool atheist like yours truly rethink the entire philosophical underpinnings of his existence or at least dropping by the local synagogue next weekend, just in case.

That said, I worry about the amount of punishment Lin is finding himself on the receiving end of during his frequent forays to the tin. The Canadians were really laying into him, maybe because they assume that everyone’s got universal health coverage and no matter how badly they brutalized and battered young Jeremy, at least he wouldn’t have to worry about coverage. D’Antoni’s not doing him any favors in terms of playing time either. He said he was going to ride him like Secretariat, but even Secretariat wasn’t running in every single race at Pimlico.

My hand-wringing aside, the stones to take over in the last 1:30 like that…wow. That’s something only the greats can pull off. I think we can say without hesitation the “is this real?” argument is deader than disco.

Mike Bibby, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2

Now that AMC’s The Walking Dead has returned, Bibby’s got far more important matters to attend to than being a halfway decent backup PG. There are reams of zombie extras on the show that he needs to coach up, hopefully resulting in more 2-minute stints like tonight.

Jared Jeffries, PF 19 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3

Jeffries’ playing time suffered the most with Amar’e’s return. Not coincidentally, the Knicks defence (told you) returned to its pre-Lin porousness.

Steve Novak, SF 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +10

Novakaine Novakan’t do it every game, it seems.

Iman Shumpert, G 27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +1

Shumpert is still missing way too many easy (for him) layups and dunks. But the defence (still going)…Lin be praised, his suffocation of Calderon in the 4th literally turned the game around. As Thomas B. mentioned in the game thread, he’s potentially a 1st Team All-Defence (last time, I swear) candidate down the road.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Like Jim recapping the Minny game, I was all set to write something to the effect of, “Okay. Trap game. Trouble reintegrating STAT. Got down too far. Can’t miss FT’s in the 4th and hope to win. Lesson learned. Etc.” Of course, that was a silly assumption to make. Because we have Jeremy Lin. Not sure if y’all saw the bit before the Laker game where the artist formerly known as Ron Artest advised Lin to, “Get some swagger” by wearing leather pants. Street cred qualities of leather pants notwithstanding, swagger is cold-bloodedly hitting a three in Jose Calderon’s smirking mug to win a game (again) that they had no business winning. That’s swagger, son.
  2. Alas, it’s not all leather pants and lollipops for our burgeoning hero. I’m more than a little concerned about the high turnover volume. Part of it is due to the fact that (as described above) teams are getting very physical with Lin, both on the perimeter and on dribble-drives and, on a night like tonight where the perimeter shooters couldn’t hit the broad side of an Iowa-Class Battleship, they’re going to pack the lane and make it just as impregnable as the previously mentioned battleship. Lin’s fearlessness is such an integral part of his game, though, that the TO’s will have to be like the purposeful flaw that Navajo artisans will deliberately add to a rug they weave. The Navajo, like Lin, feel that humans are not perfect and cannot be on the same level as God, who they see as perfection. To show that they do not see themselves as perfect as God, they will leave a bit of string dangling. For Lin, it’s letting himself get repeatedly stripped on dribble-penetration.
  3. It’s Valentine’s Day. In honor of this sweet, candy-rific day, I truly hope some of you watched the game via Toronto’s feed, just you’d be compelled as I am to send a Whitman Sampler to Clyde Frazier and Mike Breen. (I’m assuming they share an apartment, like a far cooler Felix and Oscar or a grown up Bert and Ernie. It’s not sexual, they just live together, get into wacky fights about whose turn it is to do the dishes and then go to work covering the Knicks. They don’t? Whatevs, y’all suck. I prefer the fiction. Anyway…) Jack “Not the All-American Boy” Armstrong is the color guy and he sounds like a very poor man’s Bill Raftery if very poor man’s Bill Raftery also sported a thick Brooklynese and apparently had a few before each game. He and his play-by-play cohort, Matt Devlin, were engaged in a series of running yuks about the fact that Naughty by Nature was playing at the Air Canada Centre (or as they put it, “The ACC!” Shudder…) on Friday.

    MATT: The legendary Naughty by Nature will be here Friday!
    JACK: Yeah! Gawna be dere! I’m gawna axe him if I can join dem onstage!
    MATT: You know Naughty by Nature isn’t a guy, it’s a band.
    JACK: Yeah! But they gotta have a guy who sings, right? I’ll axe duh guy!…Yeah!!


  4. Is it me or have Jose Calderon and Linas Kleiza been killing the Knicks since the dawn of time? I find myself personally galled by their good play as they eerily resemble these guys I used to know when I was…ahem…partaking of certain substances. They’d come over to negotiate the sale of said substances, both of them looking like they sampled quite liberally from their own product and then wanted to hang around after the sale was complete. You’d say yes, even though “hanging around” consisted of them dabbling in the product they just sold you and menacingly sitting on the couch asking of you knew any girls who “wanted to party,” both because they did sell a fairly good product at a reasonable price and because they had the unkempt, haven’t-showered-days yet wired to the gills-attitude of guy who wouldn’t mind using your face to polish the inside of the toilet as a form of light amusement. My point being, even if they weren’t so consistently effective v. the ‘Bockers, I wouldn’t particularly care for Jose Calderon and/or Linas Kleiza.
  5. Jim Cavan just IMed me saying, “I just caught up on DVR. UNREAL. I laughed for ten straight minutes.” That sums it up pretty durned well. On to Sacto!
Liked it? Take a second to support Robert Silverman on Patreon!

Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

24 thoughts to “Quick Reaction: Lins 90, Raptors 87”

  1. Stoudemire shot poorly, but he missed some stuff in the first quarter that he was making by games end, I think his next game will be much better.

    Also, I’ve been telling myself that these turnover issues for Lin will go away as he adjusts to the swarming NBA defenses but hasn’t happened yet. Part of it is that he gets stripped when driving, part of it is that he doesn’t seem to have a great feel for the passing game. He gets his assists because the defense collapses and he squeezes a pass out, but a lot of the time if he tries to lead someone or lob a pass it doesn’t hit the mark. If it doesn’t work out soon we may be doomed to watch a sloppy but scrappy team for the rest of the year.

  2. Love the writing here. really excellent. I must say that Lin’s struggles in the second quarter were largely attributable to an inability to get a step on his defender going in a straight line.

    It was clear, to me at least, a tired legs issue begotten from having to create something on virtually every play.

    I’m not sure if you can expect any NBA player to build up the endurance to carry the offense for 36-40 minutes a night.

    I’d like to see him get Nash kind of minutes for the rest of the year, given that there will be another creator of offense ready to explode on all his naysayers when Lin sits down.

  3. The knicks dug a pretty deep hole, but, as a team, showed a lot of guts and heart down the stretch. Toronto did not go easy into the night. They really battled it out in the 4th. Reminded me of what Larry Brown said earlier in the day in an interview, “every win in the NBA is tough, even against the weak teams.”
    One of the biggest differences from earlier in the season is something D’antoni referred to during the rough patch. He said the team had to learn how to win. Well, they sure know how, now.
    Great game.
    I’m enjoying these games more than I have in a long long long time.

  4. My favourite stat from the last couple of games: the Knicks have held their last two opponents to 23 points combined in the 4th quarter(Minny got 11, Toronto got 12)

  5. Jus 1 thing Bob…u forgot to give _____ an A++ for NOT being good enough to get in the game. All jokes aside..u know ur stock has more than plummeted when you’re a former 1st rounder both Lin (because he was previously undrafted and cut from 2 teams-but we obviously know that his game is not a fluke especially since this http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/7574452/jeremy-lin-high-school-coach-surprised-too was published), AND a Raccoon City escapee passed u in the pecking order. Kinda reminds me of Eddie Murphy’s joke about his Aunt Bunny fallin down the steps..lol..sad really. I hope he regains his game because we do need him with Bibby unreliable and Davis perpetually injured it seems. Although Lin is turnin the ball over quite a bit, I can live with it as long as he continues to make plays. Besides, all of that turning the ball over will calm down once he settles in with the team. To think that he’s playing this well with no real chemistry with the rest of the team is really quite amazing. Imagine how effective he’ll be once he figures out Melo’s game as well as Stat’s

  6. About JLin rest/backup pg minutes…

    Rest Jeremy in the middle of offensive runs. Like a 6-0 run and building. One of those where you would normally yell at the screen and ask what the fuck is the coach doing. Bring in Bibby to really fuck everything up for 4 minutes, get the score tied again. Let JLin get the lead back. Do that 3 times a game and we’re straight.

  7. Not sure if ya’ll put this on the morning news clip, but nice little story about ShaoLin’s high school coach:


    Best part:

    … Lin and Kobe Bryant were running downcourt together, trailing the play, neither part of the action.

    Kobe reached out and put his hand on Lin, not a shove but not a tap, either. More than anything, a message. You know, a pecking-order thing.

    Diepenbrock’s voice starts to rise and accelerate as he talks about what came next.

    “Jeremy swiped his hand away,” he says. “It was like, ‘Get the [bleep] away from me.’ And that moment, man — that was Jeremy. He’s a nice guy, but he’s cut-throat.”

  8. Novak having had A games means even a C+ game makes him the best +/- guy of the game. He’s spacing the floor even if he misses. 2 weeks ago that wasn’t the case. Anything happen in the last 2 weeks?

  9. Remember when everyone on this team used to automatically switch on screens? It seems teams do improve when given more time together, and I really like the Knicks defense, save for a few weaknesses like guarding stretch 4’s and guards that run around screens. If we somehow get J.R., at least he’ll be a vast improvement over Landry defensively and as a 3 point shooter.

  10. jon abbey: He got his shot blocked SEVEN TIMES.

    True, but I’m inclined to think that’s more a product of his lift (or lack thereof) than his poor spacing in the offense. My point is that he didn’t have to create for himself tonight.

  11. I just can’t believe what has happened to this team…

    I only have two sports teams I have ever rooted for. The Knicks and the Cubs. Not only have I not had any championships in my lifetime, but I’ve only had maybe 5 or 6 things to even be excited about sports wise my entire 3 1/2 decade life.

    What is happening this month is so foreign to me, it’s like a lucid dream.

    I don’t want to wake up.

  12. Great stuff as usual. Can you believe two wins where they probably led only or just about only when the final buzzer sounded. After all those years this is sooooo good.

    Not super crazy about Lin’s minutes but that unrequited minutes complaints have been par for the course with D’Antoni.

  13. Re: Lin’s turnovers – Last night Lin had half of all of our turnovers and considering his usage his somewhere between 40-50%, that’s kind of a good thing right? Since it means that he’s generally setting up people for shots, it’s much better if he turns it over than say, STAT or Tyson since a Lin assist is generally leading to a pretty easy, efficient shot.

    Similarly in the lakers game (6 out of 14 to’s) and TWolves (6 out of 20, I believe). Also, I don’t think our total turnover’s have really up. We were already turning it over at a horrible rate before Lin. Maybe we’ve just upgraded to the right person turning it over? Stat heads, help me out here…

  14. Is it just me, or does Stat not jump very high anymore. Not even just in this game, but all season it seems like he’s been forced to attempt layups in situations where he used to abuse the rim. Even when he has wide open dunks in the flow of the offense it doesn’t look like he gets up that much. Maybe it’s the extra muscle he put on his frame in the off season or whatever, but hopefully I’m just hallucinating or something.

  15. Mulligan:
    Also, I don’t think our total turnover’s have really up. We were already turning it over at a horrible rate before Lin. Maybe we’ve just upgraded to the right person turning it over? Stat heads, help me out here…

    It’s a small sample, but the numbers agree with you. Lin seems to be racking up the TOs, but the Knicks actually turn it over (a bit) less when he’s in the game:

    On-court/off-court stats

    Once you factor in that Lin always has the ball in his hands, he doesn’t really turn it over all that much. If you compare him to other point guards that get a lot of assists, he ranks near the middle of the pack:

    High-assist point guards (current season, at least 10 minutes/game)

    Per-possession, he turns it over less often than, say, Nash or Rondo in an average season. What sets Lin apart is his usage rate; the guy seems to shoot, get an assist or turn it over on every Knicks possession.

    Amusingly, the only player in the league this season who is even remotely similar to Lin in terms of the sheer volume of possessions/assists/turnovers is Deron Williams. Historically, Westbrook in 2010-11 and Mark Price in 1994-95 are the only other similar seasons I could find. Take a look:

    Lin & comparables

    This is pretty impressive company, even before you notice that Lin is scoring the most points, and doing so more efficiently than the other three.

Comments are closed.