“Linsanity” started when Jeremy Lin came in off the bench against the New Jersey Nets, dropped 25 points on Deron Williams and his team, and started to change the Knicks season around. Williams was frustrated.
A couple days later, Williams was being peppered with questions about Lin, at one point said “What phenomenon?” then cut off the Lin line of questioning. Williams was angry.
Monday night, he unleashed all that back on the Knicks. Williams had 38 points, was 8 of 14 from three and led the Nets to a 100-92 win that wasn’t as close as the score suggests.
Deron Williams let Jeremy Lin and everyone know who will be the best point guard in the greater New York area next year when the Nets move to Brooklyn. Unless Williams doesn’t move with them and is instead the best point guard in Dallas. Or Los Angeles. Or wherever, but that’s another topic all together.
Lin had a good night statistically — 21 points on 7-of-18 shooting and 9 assists. Early he was able to get some good buckers in transition early. But the Nets did a good job of forcing him to his weaker left, then cut off his drives. It left the Knicks as a jump shooting perimeter team for much of the night, and the Knicks shot just 40 percent for the game.
This was also Carmelo Anthony’s return to the Knicks. He looked rusty, as one would expect. The Knicks put him the post more, ran some nice staggers screens for Lin with him and Amar’e Stoudemire. There were flashes — like an Anthony pass out of the post to a cutting Stoudemire for a dunk.
Baron Davis was back as well, but he was almost covered in rust. He may get there, but the up and down Davis can do that more slowly thanks to Lin. The Knicks have a quality point guard.
But the Nets have a better one. They also knocked down the threes — 15-31 from beyond the arc.
This was a chippy, physical, up-tempo and at times sloppy game that at times looked more like a game at Rucker Park than MSG. But that suited the Nets. They also had MarShon Brooks drop 18. And Kris Humphries had 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Knicks had Anthony and Tyson Chandler pick up technicals for trying to intimidate the Nets.
The next game between these teams will be fun.