New York Knicks' Lin pumps his fist from the bench as teammates score during their NBA basketball game in Toronto

It is no longer ‘inconceivable’ that Jeremy Lin could play in the first round

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The New York Times reports Saturday that Knicks guard Jeremy Lin began one-on-one drills before the Knicks’ demolition loss to the Heat in Game 1. Mike Woodson has repeatedly said that Lin is out for the entire first-round with swelling in his sore knee. From the New York Times:

The Knicks have not officially changed Lin’s prognosis, which called for a six-week recovery period and would probably cover the first round. But it is now conceivable that Lin will play in this series, depending on how long it goes.

The team will wait to see how Lin’s knee responds to Saturday’s workout before deciding whether to accelerate his return. He would still need time to regain his conditioning and stamina.

via Knicks’ Lin Is Back on the Court, Playing One on One – NYTimes.com.

Trying to rush Lin back is not the answer. Him miraculously saving the Knicks would make for a great ending to his terrific story this season, but hurting his knee further, impacting his career and costing him what he needs to be the best he can be is much worse. It’s hard to say that it would be worth it to get him back.

Say that he’s available for Game 4. If the Knicks are down 2-1, is it worth tying the series? What if they’re down 3-0 with blowouts? Or if they’re up 2-1? Trying to unwrap that riddle is very difficult, and the Knicks are going to have to think long and hard about it. For starters, Lin’s not going to help with their defense, which was porous on Saturday. But he would help the offense, which was anemic. With Iman Shumpert out, his minutes might be useful for nothing else but to give Baron Davis a rest.

It’s still a longshot that Lin will play. But it’s something to keep an eye on, and we will.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.