The Jeremy Lin saga continues.
Another chapter in the legend of Jeremy Lin was written on Tuesday night, as the undrafted guard out of Harvard delivered the most dramatic finish in his most improbable run. The Eastern Conference player of the week’s mania traveled north of the border as the New York Knicks prepared to face the Toronto Raptors. After an amazing week of stellar performances, including outdueling Kobe Bryant for 38 at MSG last Friday, “Linsanity” reached a fevered pitched at the Air Canada Centre as the Knicks’ breakout point guard’s heroics were on full display.
Hours after Lin called his journey with the Knicks “a miracle from God,” for almost four quarters it appeared as if Lin’s perfect record as New York’s starting point guard would come to an end. In his fifth start since taking over for the maligned Tony Douglas, Lin’s debut in Canada was plagued with turnovers –a career-high eight- and poor decisions. He spent a considerable amount of time under duress as the Raptors prevented him from penetrating. But despite the pressure, Lin never wavered.
New York trailed by as many as 17 points and were down by nine with under four minutes remaining in the final period. That’s when the Knicks found their defensive fervor and rookie guard Iman Shumpert (eight points) was reassigned the duties of containing Jose Calderon (25 points) after Lin struggled to check the Raptors point guard. Shumpert held Calderon scoreless in the fourth and ignited the Knicks 8-0 run, when he stole the ball from Calderon at midcourt and hammered down an uncontested tomahawk dunk to pull the Knicks within three, 87-84. Then, “Linsanity” took over from there. Lin drove in for a layup and a 3-point play to tie the score at 87 with 1:05 left. On the Knicks’ final possession, Shumpert missed a bank shot, but Tyson Chandler (13 points) grabbed the rebound and passed it out to Lin with 10 seconds remaining, setting up his miraculous finish.
With the clock ticking away -and the game on the line- Lin had the ball in his hands, Calderon on his heels and the sellout crowd at Air Canada Centre on their feet. As the time elapsed to 5 seconds, the undefeated point guard waved off Chandler’s pick-and-roll, glanced backed at Knicks’ head coach Mike D’Antoni to ensure his isolation, and starred down Calderon as he set to make his move. Lin backed down his lone defender, pulled up at the top of the key and lifted another miracle towards the basket. The 3-pointer went swish, Calderon was sick, and Lin stood center stage as pandemonium erupted all around him. The Knicks’ newest sensation converted 20,092 Canadians into “Lin-spired” fans as his money shot lifted New York over Toronto 90-87, for their season-high sixth consecutive win.
Lin, who is a devoted Christian, scored 12 of his a game-high 27 points in the final period, dished out 11 assists and gave all praises to his Lord and savior. In his five games since taking over as starter for the Knicks, he’s scored 129 points and committed 30 turnovers- the most points and turnovers by any player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. Yet, despite his turnovers and dismal shooting –Lin was just 3-for-8 from behind the arc this season- Lin’s confidence grows more powerful with each game. Are you starting to believe?