Here are five quick hits from the first half of the Knicks-Nets game:
1.) KNICKS' POOR ROTATIONS
The Nets connected on 9 of 15 3-pointers in the first half (60 percent). Point guard Deron Williams had four and small forward DeShawn Stevenson had three. They are the most downtown makes the Knicks have allowed in the first half all season, and it's the reason the Nets are up at halftime.
2.) JEREMY LIN'S DEFENSE
One key aspect of Lin's game, which enables him to break down defenses, is his quick hands with his dribble. He keeps the ball compact to his body and can flinch a defender quickly to back off him with his sharp moves. Those same quick hands Lin uses on defense. After having four steals against the Hornetson Friday night and five against the Mavericks on Sunday, he had three in the first quarter alone tonight. That enabled the Knicks to jump out in transition and convert several times with Lin's passing. By halftime, the Knicks had 10 fast-break points, compared to none by the Nets, and Lin had four assists. Mike D'Antoni has said what's most impressed him about Lin is his composure, consistency and defense. Entering Monday, Lin was averaging 1.3 steals per game.
3.) LIN AND MELO
The biggest question surrounding Carmelo Anthony's return was: How would he and Lin coexist? With 10:22 to play in the first quarter, Lin and Melo ran the pick-and-roll to perfection, which resulted in a Melo jump shot from 12 feet. It's a great sign for things to come. Speaking of the P&R, Anthony even ran it well with Amare Stoudemire with 8:06 left in the first period, which resulted in a STAT 15-foot jumper from the baseline corner. The biggest takeaway from this overall quick hit is that Anthony didn't stop the ball and he played well within the Lin-led system.
4.) BARON DAVIS' RETURN
Finally. After recovering from a herniated disc in his back, then dealing with a setback from a right elbow infection, Davis made his debut with the Knicks. Interestingly, his first offensive possession was a clear-out from the right wing (something Melo would do). But soon after that, he ran the pick-and-roll well and was able to draw the defense in. On one play, with time winding down in the first quarter, Davis drove and did a behind-the-back with the ball before passing it out to Steve Novak, who swished the 3-pointer from the baseline corner. It was a highlight reel sequence, but unfortunately the shot was waved off because the ball was still in Novak's hands when time expired. But Davis found Novak in the second quarter spotting up, with 10:21 to play, which put the Knicks up 24-20. Davis also had a three of his own.
5.) SMITH'S FLUORESCENT SNEAKERS
J.R. Smith's bright orange kicks overlooked Beyonce's yellow jacket. The pop singer and her husband, Nets minority owner Jay-Z, are sitting courtside.
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