Linsanity continues as Lin lifts Knicks over Mavericks

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And the show goes on.

The scouting report was supposed to be out on Jeremy Lin. After a Hornets defense confounded, frustrated and beat him down Friday night, the blueprint was supposed to be in place to stop the dynamic young Knicks star. Yeah, that paradigm is over. Lin lit up the Mavericks and their fourth-ranked in efficiency defense Sunday, scoring 28 points and 14 assists, with 4 rebounds, 5 steals, and a block in the Knicks’ 104-97 win over Dallas Sunday.

Lin looked refreshed by a break in the schedule, and was back to his pick-and-roll-trap-splitting ways. Shawn Marion couldn’t keep him on the edge, and he split the Mavericks. He hurt them with the floater, he drew fouls, and he kicked out to open shooters time and time again. The fact that his weapons stepped up for him helped a lot. J.R. Smith made an immediate impact, despite clearly having no clue what kind of offense the Knicks were running. And then there was Novak.

Steve Novak, a fringe player for years after a promising season in Houston just like Lin, knocked down 4-5 threes to give the Knicks a second-half boost after falling down double-digits. Novak’s understanding of timing in getting open in the corner opens up the offense so much, and it was pivotal in yet another game where Amar’e Stoudemire struggled.

The most underrated part of Lin’s performance may be defensively, where he absolutely victimized the Mavericks in the passing lanes. He created fast break opportunities and has become deadly in transition, making the right decision to score or dish nearly every time. If there was a downside, it was his seven turnovers, six in the second half, which are in part a product of his high usage (Lin played 46 minutes Sunday), in part a product of D’Antoni’s system, and in part a product of his inexperience. But if we’re going to evaluate Lin’s performance honestly, they need to be mentioned. In no way do they overshadow the way he took over the game in the biggest moments, though, nor take away from the incredible story as it continues to unfold.

For the Mavericks, it was a tough loss. They were on the wrong end of a number of questionable calls, and struggled to get their legs under them. Their biggest issue, honestly, though, was containing Lin. That may seem like the easy narrative, but the truth is that Lin stepped up against one of the best defensive teams in the league, the defending champions, and punished them over and over again.

Like, you know, this.

If there were any doubters left after this performance, they should probably come forward. Because it’s become impossible to deny just how good Jeremy Lin has been.

Rumor: Dell Demps out, Joe Dumars in with Pelicans?

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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is on shaky ground.

What about New Orleans general manager Dell Demps?

A long-swirling rumor is getting renewed.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

A few league sources peg the New Orleans Pelicans as a team that is going to make sweeping changes once their season ends in eight games.

The Pelicans have long been rumored to be the next stop for former Piston’s executive Joe Dumars, who is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and has close ties to the ownership and leadership of the Pelicans and Saints organization.

League sources said recently that Dumars has been active in the NBA front office circles, scouting players and reconnecting to the process.

Demps has done a lousy job building a supporting cast around Davis. Part of the reason trading for the risky DeMarcus Cousins made so much sense: The Pelicans were so underwhelming, they wouldn’t be much worse off if Cousins destroyed their culture and/or bolted in 2018 free agency.

But it’s not too late to salvage Davis’ tenure in New Orleans. He’s locked up for three more seasons, and Cousins is an extremely talented No. 2.

Is Dumars the right man to bring it all together?

He masterfully built the Pistons into the 2004 NBA champions. He also played an integral role in the team’s downfall.

Another factor: There appears to be a mutual respect between Cousins and Dumars, who coveted the big man since he was coming out of Kentucky. That could help the Pelicans re-sign Cousins in 2018.

Dumars’ success should get him general-manager job interviews, but his more-recent failings demand tough questions. I’m unconvinced the Pelicans are scrutinizing Dumars enough, and they’d probably benefit from a more-thorough search.

But Dumars might be a fine hire. Dumping Demps would at least be step in the right direction.

Maryland star Melo Trimble declares for NBA draft

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Maryland guard Melo Trimble declared for last year’s NBA draft but withdrew.

This time, he’s not turning back.

Don Markus of The Baltimore Sun:

Trimble, less than three weeks removed from finishing his junior season with the team’s first-round loss to Xavier in the NCAA tournament, announced Wednesday he will make himself available for the NBA draft.

Unlike a year ago, when Trimble went through the pre-draft process without signing with an agent and then decided to return to school hours before the deadline, the 6-foot-3 point guard will forego his senior season.

“The deciding factor was that I felt there was nothing more I could do,” Trimble told the Baltimore Sun from the Stamp Student Union during a lunch break. “I felt like I did everything I could for the program. We went to the [NCAA] tournament three years in a row, and I had the same amount of points three years in a row. I felt that if I wanted to hopefully get to the next level, I had to leave at this time.

Trimble’s scouting report hasn’t changed much in the last year. He’s a scoring guard whose size (6-foot-3) will require him to play point guard in the next level, but he hasn’t shown the necessary distributing skills.

The biggest difference: He’s now 22, not 21.

Trimble had a superb college career, but at this point, his range is second round to undrafted.

DeMarcus Cousins answers first several Kings-related questions same way (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.

Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.

Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.

Justin Verrier of ESPN:

Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.

Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.

Report: Sweet-shooting 7-footer Lauri Markkanen leaving Arizona for NBA draft

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Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.

That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.

Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.

Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.

Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.

There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.

But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.