Jeremy Lin’s magical run last season in New York was a perfect storm of a situation. Desperate for offense at the time the Knicks turned to Lin to do the one things he does well — push the pace and attack off the pick-and-roll — while surrounding him with shooters and a good pick-and-roll big in Tyson Chandler. It worked very well, although it never was going to mesh with the Knicks of Carmelo Anthony.
Houston came in to Madison Square Garden Monday against a Knicks team without ‘Melo and asked Lin to push the pace and attack off the pick-and-roll — and those things exposed a Knicks defense that has not played great basketball the past couple weeks. The result was an easy Rockets win.
“That was awesome,” Lin beamed to a Houston Rockets official awaiting him. “That was so much fun.”
“I am glad this is over,” Lin told Yahoo! Sports late Monday night. “This is a little bit of closure.”
This move — Lin to Houston, Raymond Felton taking his point guard spot in New York — is better for the Knicks in the short term. Felton and Anthony can get along better on the court and Lin needed a chance to struggle and develop out of the spotlight.
But when he came back in it for a night, he looked like his old, vintage self. And that was fun (except for Knicks fans).
Rajon Rondo: You couldn’t name three players on 2015-16 Kings, but I led NBA in assists
“It’s just, maybe, the personnel in this situation,” Rondo says in response. “I mean, last year — I hate to keep talking about last year — but you couldn’t name three people on my team, the Sacramento Kings, and I led the league in assists. You know? I don’t know. I believe so (that his skill set still has value), given the right personnel and the flow of the game.”
Nike, meanwhile, is expected to present its initial NBA jersey designs to retailers beginning this week. The company said it doesn’t plan to produce sleeved jerseys, a style debuted by Adidas in 2013 that received mixed reviews from players and fans.
Whether or not sleeves were introduced for ad space, uniform advertisements are still coming. The ads can fit on standard jerseys, no problem.
At this point, there’s just little to no upside for sleeved jerseys.
Nostalgia will treat sleeves better than present-day evaluations, but until we look back wistfully on this mostly failed experiment, good riddance.
Report: Carmelo Anthony twice asked to meet with Phil Jackson, who will get around to it soon
That affair should’ve provided a sense of Jackson’s communication skills. This latest episode only reinforces it.
The Knicks were in New York on Thursday, when Rosen’s article was published. They played in Toronto on Sunday and returned home for a game yesterday. That’s plenty of time for Jackson and Anthony to talk.
Why hasn’t it happened yet?
Isaiah Thomas on pace to break modern-era fourth-quarter scoring record
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Thomas said. “It just surprises everybody else.”
It shouldn’t any longer.
Boston has won seven of eight, and in that span, Thomas has scored most of the Celtics’ fourth-quarter points. He has pushed his fourth-quarter scoring average to 10.1 for the season – putting him on track to break the modern-era record.
Kobe Bryant scored 9.5 fourth-quarter points per game in 2006, the most in the previous 20 years (as far back as NBA.com has data). The leaderboard:
Russell Westbrook is also on track to surpass Kobe and join this rarified air. LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade are the only other players to average even eight fourth-quarter points per game in a season over the previous 20 years. Not even Michael Jordan (7.1 in 1997, 7.3 in 1998) did it.
Boston’s offense has blasted into the stratosphere with Thomas on the court in the fourth quarter, scoring 122.1 points per 100 possessions. However, the Celtics allow even more with him on the floor in the final period (122.8 points per 100 possessions). The 5-foot-9 point guard has limits.
But where those limits exist when it comes to his clutch scoring – we haven’t found them yet.