INDIANAPOLIS IN - JANUARY 08: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets scores 1-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter as quarterback Mark Sanchez celebrates in the background against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8 2011 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
It was a good week for teams with New York in their names. New Jersey? That's another story. Yes, the New York Jets play in New Jersey but they still have the old New York in front of their name. They're the biggest story of the week obviously, with their thrilling last-second win over the Indianapolis Colts. On a smaller, regular-season stage, the New York Knicks (2-1), New York Rangers (3-0) and New York Islanders (2-2) also did well for themselves. But the New Jersey Nets (1-2) and New Jersey Devils (1-3) continued their forgettable seasons. And now on to the Player of the Week. It has to be a Jet, of course, as their playoff game trumps any regular-season accomplishment.
LaDainian Tomlinson: It was back to ground and pound for the Jets, just like last season. And they didn't have much choice, as, besides the last 45 seconds of the game, Mark Sanchez was, well, awful. Tomlinson was healthy, rested and ready, and he came through with a productive and versatile game. He rambled his way for 82 yards on 16 carries, for a 5.1 average. He also caught four passes for 17 yards. And he scored two touchdowns. On the first TD, he kept fighting and moving his legs until he bulled his way into the end zone. And before waltzing in for six points on his second score, he made a key third-down reception to keep the drive going. Shonn Greene also did his part, gaining 70 yards. And the piling up of rushing yards, with two long drives, couldn't have happened without a stellar game from the offensive line. Sanchez did come through on the last drive, which only took five plays, and the 18-yard completion to Braylan Edwards was the play of the game. After getting burned (with Brodney Pool) on the Colts' first touchdown, Antonio Cromartie made a clutch 47-yard kickoff return to kick-start the final drive. Darrelle Revis lived up to his billing by holding Reggie Wayne to one measly catch. And we can't forget about Nick Folk. He only booted the game-winner as the final seconds ticked off the clock, after all. It was a win that will forever be remembered.
Runners Up & Other Notables
Wilson Chandler: The Knicks notched their most impressive win of the season on Tuesday, when they dominated the league-best San Antonio Spurs, 128-115, and it was Chandler who led the team with 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds to boot. Why have the Knicks been advertising Danilo Gallinari for All-Star Game consideration over this guy? The injured Italian has his attributes, but Chandler's a better all-around player. He scored 16 points, with six boards, in Friday's beat down of the Suns, and pumped in 19 in the loss to the Lakers. Raymond Felton recorded his first career triple-double against the Suns, with a 23/11/10 line, and scored 28 vs. the Spurs. Amar'e Stoudemire had an off night in Los Angeles, but was treated as a returning hero in Phoenix and didn't disappoint, with 23 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. And Shawne Williams made some noise this week. He scored 15 in Phoenix, including four three-pointers, nine against San Antonio and started in Sunday's game and scored eight points.
Mats Zuccarello: It was quite a week for the talented Norwegian. Zuccarello netted his first NHL goal on Wednesday, and it came at the most opportune time--in overtime. And it was a shot from a most impossible angle. He followed that up with the shootout winner two days later, in the Rangers' victory over Dallas. He moved in at a slow-motion pace, made about half a dozen dekes and then ripped the puck into the net. He added an assist in Wednesday's game and also made a nifty pass on Derek Stepan's goal in Saturday's victory over St. Louis. Henrik Lundqvist picked up two wins this week, as well as a pair of assists in two straight games. Watch out Wayne Gretzky, your consecutive point streak record is in danger. Brandon Dubinsky continued his awesomeness, with four assists this week and great all-around play. Sean Avery put home what turned out to be the game-winner on Saturday and has elevated his game. Marty Biron keeps chipping in, with another solid game and another win. And Ryan McDonagh made his NHL debut in Friday's game in Dallas.
John Tavares: The Islanders' star in the making starred this week in the team's three wins. He scored two goals and added an assist in the emphatic 5-2 win over Calgary, and scored another overtime game-winner, this time against the Avalanche on Saturday. Matt Moulson, Blake Comeau and even Jeremy Colliton each netted two goals this week. And 20-year-old Kevin Poulin made his NHL debut when he relieved Nathan Lawson in Thursday's loss in Edmonton. He recorded his first win two days later in Colorado. After letting in two early goals, he avoided disaster and settled down to make 34 saves in the 4-3 victory.
Kris Humphries: The big forward was moved to the bench this week, but that didn't stop Humphries from playing his usual productive game. In the team's win this week, over the Bulls, Mr. Kardashian scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He could only manage a single-single (8/8) in the loss to Washington (how did they lose to the downtrodden Wizards, by the way?), but rebounded with a 22-point, eight-rebound effort on Saturday. Derrick Favors made his first NBA start on Wednesday. Sasha Vujacic scored the game-winner against Chicago with 5.3 seconds left. And Jordan Farmar poured in 20 points and added 10 assists filling in for the injured Devin Harris in Saturday's loss.
David Clarkson: The Devils went their usual 1-3 this week, and Clarkson went on a scoring rampage with three goals this week. He scored two of them in the team's win over the Lightning and netted the other in the loss to the Flyers on Thursday. Nick Palmieri notched his first NHL goal with an empty-netter on Sunday. The 21-year-old Utica, New York, native also picked up an assist in Tuesday's loss to Minnesota. Patrik Elias had a goal and three assists. And Jamie Langenbrunner gets a shoutout for getting out of town and not having to put up with the mess in Jersey anymore.