Gotta give credits to the deserved ones. Today, hats off to Melo, JR, and Davis for their sacrifice on personal stats and contributions to team play, resulting in a comfortable (albeit careless) win over the exhausted Hawks.
We can probably remember clearly how Jeremy had to, according to akafu, “kill himself on the court” in order to make a play when surrounded by blue-collar teammates. That roster did not have a playmaker outside of Lin, and offense was stagnant whenever he was off the court or on the weak side. So it was obvious that the team could use another offensive option, another playmaker, or at the very least a serviceable back-up PG to at least hold the lead.
Well, Melo, JR, and Baron did MORE than all of the above.
I gotta admit. I was a doubter. I didn’t think Melo would be willing to sacrifice his touches despite his desire to let Jeremy run the show. As it turns out, Melo worked hard to get his teammates involved with some beautiful passes while dusting the rust off in 2 games since his return. He was also sitting picks for Jeremy and rolled out for that mid-range J, running hard on fastbreak for the open dunk, and even muscling it down low on D. He was filling in the needs of the team, whatever necessary. If the proudest player of the team is doing that, it sets an example for others, such as JR Smith.
JR, the known chucker. One of the 3 straight out of high school players on the Knicks.
(A sidenote: isn’t it great that they can put Tyson, Amare and JR the 3 high school graduates in the front and pair that up with Stanford-Harvard backcourt? Heck you could even throw Melo in who left Syracuse after his freshman).
I didn’t like JR’s game because simply I have very low tolerance for brainless basketball, and he made a name for doing that! But I guess it’s the magic of China that has spurred his maturation and knowledge for the game. JR has been that secondary playmaker, unbelievable finisher around the basket (Baron just tossed it up and JR could slam it in unimaginable ways!), and the nasty defender that the team definitely needs when Shump’s down. The 3 point strokes are not there yet, but gone was the stagnant offense when Lin’s sitting. Viola!
Now here’s Baron Davis, the man who I can feel his pain. Bulging disc. Never-ending rehab. I feel that. That’s why in all aspects I was not expecting anything more than an upgrade from the brinkin’ Mike Bibby as the back-up PG. Besides, Davis was known for being a 3 pt chucker as well, and that just added another layer to my doubt. The turnout? I was completely blown away by how agile the man can move! He was zooming and turning all over the place with that veteran’s swagger, and doing his thing (behind the back pass from the paint to the corner shooter, on the FLOOR no-look pass for a lay-up?)! Despite being somewhat erratic and of course rusty, he was definitely a spark! This is a perfect ignition that the 2nd unit could use while Lin sits; the same way as I foresaw Jeremy as the first guard off the bench to push the tempo, pre-Linsanity of course. I also love how he expressed “I’ve played in the league for 13 years so all I want is the championship and nothing else.” It means a whole lot when those words came from your veterans. Just like Melo, it definitely sets the tone for others.
As a whole, the Knicks may be a bit too young and inexperience. It’s frustrating to watch careless basketball during periods of the game when they had double digit leads. The team at current status looked more like a young up&coming team over a battle-tested contender. Dallas is one great example of where the Knicks can learn from, I was very impressed by how they could always answer the buckets with patience and steady ball movement. That team rarely rattled and was almost impossible to blow them away even with a good run. Like Jeremy said in the post-game conference, the Knicks gotta be more consistence throughout the season to avoid getting a win against tough opponents and then losing to a team with poor record the next game. The future is bright and promising, especially when the newly added players have brought so many more pluses into the team-oriented mix.
In several hours, the team will be playing against one of the best teams with some of the best talents in the world – Miami. The odds are all against the Knicks, and all the numbers are pointing the other way. But hey, we’ve seen Jeremy Lin elevated himself like mad in big games, and not even the jinx of sports illustrated cover could bring him down.
So here we go again. Congratulations to Jeremy to grace the 2nd and consecutive cover of SI.
Praise the Lord! Godspeed!