NEW YORK -- Not only is Jeremy Lin playing for a prime-time TV special about himself, he's making his no-household-name teammates look good in the process.
On Saturday night against the Nets, Lin's ability to slice through the lane enabled Jared Jeffries, who's not a strong finisher at the rim, to have one of the clearest looks at the basket he's ever seen. And guess what? After receiving that pass from Lin in the second quarter, Jeffries threw down a dunk -- a dunk! -- as part of his near double-double (nine points and 10 rebounds) as the backup center.
On Monday against the Jazz, bench warmer Steve Novak, who up until Monday night against the Jazz only played in half (12) of the Knicks' 24 games, benefited from Lin's perimeter feeds. The 6-10 stretch four finished 5-for-8 from three, en route to 19 points (four shy of tying his career-high) in only 17 minutes.
In the postgame locker room, as gracious, patient and thoughtful as he always is with every member of the media, Novak spoke about Lin's playmaking like it was that of a seasoned point guard in the NBA.
"Jeremy always has his eyes up and he's finding guys," Novak said. "He kind of makes it really hard for his [defender] because someone else has to always help. He's always getting by them. He's able to really just find guys. We really moved the ball well and guys really trusted me to put the ball in my hands."
It turns out, Novak actually teamed up with Lin last year for only one game in the D-League, as a member of the Reno Bighorns. But Novak only needed that one game to realize the impact the young point guard could have on his shooting opportunities.
"The game he was there, it was really easy to play and it was great," Novak said. "The game he wasn't there, it was much more difficult. I was very impressed with him. I think he’s definitely coming out of his shell."
Entering Monday, Novak already proved what he could do in limited opportunities. In just nine minutes of action, he was averaging one downtown make per game in only 2.3 attempts (good enough for 44.4 percent). As the Knicks have been struggling to make 3-pointers this season (30.5 percent; fifth-worst in the league), Novak has been called upon to complement Mike D'Antoni's attempt at trying to find an aggressive, free-flowing and penetrating point guard.
The problem is, the Knicks didn't have that kind of player -- until just recently, it appears, with Lin. Now with Novak, who's perhaps on his way to getting more playing time based on tonight, should be able to capitalize more on Lin's passes.
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