The last time the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets played, on Feb. 4, Jeremy Lin was a seldom-used point guard who came off the bench to have a career night. It was a nice story. Now, on Feb. 20, Lin is an international superstar who has saved the Knicks' season and turned them from also-rans into contenders in the NBA's Eastern Conference. After a thrilling 104-97 victory on Sunday over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks (16-16) try to get over the .500 mark for the first time since they were 6-5 after a loss on Jan. 12.
And while Linsanity was born against the Nets (9-24) just a few weeks ago, the Knicks today look a lot different. After Lin led the Knicks to an improbable win that night, nobody really knew what Jeremy Lin would be. Chances were it was just a career night, and the Knicks would still be searching for a point guard while they toiled away at the basement of the Eastern Conference. Instead, Lin has enjoyed one of the most impressive runs of anybody in the league, and he's completely transformed the Knicks back into a Mike D'Antoni-type team; a lot of possessions and a run-and-gun style that heavily features the 3-point shot. The Knicks have added J.R Smith, who had 15 points in his Knicks debut on Sunday. All of a sudden, the Knicks are a very deep and talented team that is a force to be reckoned with. On Monday, the biggest question of all gets its first test: How will Carmelo Anthony fit back into this new-look, Lin-led Knicks team?
Interestingly enough, Anthony featured in the birth of Linsanity, the Knicks' win on Feb. 4 over the Nets. It wasn't pretty, as in 35 minutes he went just 3-of-15 from the field and finished with 11 points. But Anthony is the one who vouched for Lin to play originally, and many forget that Anthony has played with very good point guards in the past -- most notably Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups during his time in Denver. Anthony, who has missed the Knicks' last seven games with a groin injury, now has something to prove, which could be a scary thing for opposing teams.