The Knicks' season was saved on Saturday night by a second-year point guard out of Harvard. Jeremy Lin's career game gave the Knicks their most exciting moment of the season since an opening day win over the Celtics. That probably says more about where the Knicks are as a team in this 2011-12 season, but regardless, Lin helped the team stave off an embarrassing three-game losing streak and perhaps momentarily saved Mike D'Antoni's job. On Monday night, Lin and the Knicks (9-15) try to repeat their performances and create a winning streak when they host the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz have been one of the many surprises in the NBA this season, as they got out to a hot start and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in their last game. At 13-9, they are in a position not many prognosticators thought they would be. They're a team with legitimate size and bangers down low, with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and former Net Derrick Favors featuring in a formidable frontcourt. Jefferson has been a handful for the Knicks over the years, as he's averaging 25.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in his past three outings against the Knicks. This year's version of the Knicks has become a better defensive team, largely in part to the addition of Tyson Chandler, who will certainly endure the task of trying to slow down Jefferson.
It will be interesting to see how the Knicks' lineup and rotation is affected by the sudden and shocking emergence of Lin. It's unreasonable to expect another performance like what we saw on Saturday against New Jersey, but Lin does give the Knicks a little bit of what they've been lacking at the point guard position. And for that, he should get more big minutes on Monday. Lin at least has the ability to drive the lane and break down the defense, which Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert haven't been able to do for the most part. It will be a tough proposition tonight for Lin, as the Jazz's large frontcourt will pose a big threat if he can get to the lane. That's where the onus will fall on who it should -- not Lin -- but Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, who still need to consistently step up their respective games. The Knicks will only go as far as their stars take them, and despite his play Saturday night, Jeremy Lin is not one of them.
Monday, Feb 6, 2012, 7:30 PM EST
Madison Square Garden
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