Knicks Schedule: Still Buzzing After Jeremy Lin's Dramatic Game Winner, Knicks Host Kings

Jeremy Lin is about to get another hero's welcome. Tickets on the secondary market for Wednesday's game between the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings have skyrocketed amid the chaos and Linsanity of Jeremy Lin's dramatic 3-point game-winner a night ago in Toronto. Scoring the final six points in the game, Lin and the Knicks' improbable run reached six straight games, and now the Knicks (14-15) are just one victory away from reaching the .500 mark, a plateau that seemed perhaps unreachable for the rest of the season just two weeks ago.


More: Shump and Lin wouldn't let us lose

Jeremy Lin is about to get another hero's welcome. Tickets on the secondary market for Wednesday's game between the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings have skyrocketed amid the chaos and Linsanity of Jeremy Lin's dramatic 3-point game-winner a night ago in Toronto. Scoring the final six points in the game, Lin and the Knicks' improbable run reached six straight games, and now the Knicks (14-15) are just one victory away from reaching the .500 mark, a plateau that seemed perhaps unreachable for the rest of the season just two weeks ago.

At this point, the task of trying to explain this whole thing is becoming impossible. The main question heading into last night's game was how the return of one of the Knicks' stars, Amare Stoudemire, would affect the synergy built during the Lin renaissance. It certainly wasn't seamless; Lin turned the ball over eight times, many coming in the first half, and the Knicks did not play well as a team to get down 17 points to an underwhelming Raptors side. The Lin-Stoudemire tandem needs more than just one game to be fairly judged, but Stoudemire did finish with 21 points and 9 rebounds, an impressive performance given the circumstances -- he's still going through a personal tragedy with the loss of his older brother just 10 days ago.


More: All video's of Lin and last night's win

Stoudemire and Lin do figure to be a perfect pick-and-roll fit, and they should get a good chance on Wednesday against the Kings to flourish, as Sacramento (10-18) is one of the league's worst defensive teams. They rank last in the league in points allowed per game (101.3), and are fourth-worst in defensive rating (108.2 points allowed per 100 possessions). The Kings can certainly score the ball, with talented offensive players in Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton, but one thing that's been overlooked during the Linsanity is the play of the Knicks' defense.

In the Knicks' past two wins, last Saturday at Minnesota and Tuesday in Toronto, the Knicks have given up 11 and 12 points in the fourth quarter, respectively. A huge reason for that has been the defensive play of Iman Shumpert who, understandably given the way Lin dramatically scored the final six points, probably played as important a role as anyone in the Knicks' victory over the Raptors. Shumpert's pickpocket of Jose Calderon and ensuing dunk to bring the Knicks to within three points in the final moments was the exclamation point to a dominant fourth quarter defensive performance. Calderon had 25 points in the game's first three quarters while mainly being guarded by Lin. The Knicks switched Shumpert on to Calderon (props to Mike D'Antoni). Calderon finished the game with 25 points.

Tyson Chandler pulled down two huge offensive rebounds late in the game, including on the Knicks' final possession to allow Lin to make his now famous 3-pointer. Stoudemire played a very good second half after an understandable sluggish start, converting a few crucial fourth quarter hoops.

The simple point is, and what should perhaps be the biggest story of all, is that Lin's insertion into the lineup has made the Knicks a better team. It sure sounds corny and cheesy, but Lin has inspired every Knick to dig a little deeper and work just a bit harder. Some guys, like Jared Jeffries or Tyson Chandler didn't need the push, but Landry Fields and Shumpert look miles better and more motivated in the past six games. Amare Stoudemire has no choice but to buy in and start scrapping too. Carmelo Anthony, when he gets back? Same thing, no choice.

And that of course remains the elephant in the room. But it's a discussion for another day, as soon as that may be. For another day, let's all just enjoy the ride.

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