Thursday, March 22, 2012
Lin finishes strong in Philly
By Ian Begley
Jeremy Lin went to the bench midway through the third quarter on Wednesday with a terrible stat line: 1-for-11 from the field, two points, two assists and a turnover.
One veteran Knick had a simple message for him as he sat down.
"This is when you have to prove that everything you've done up to this point is legit, [prove] what you're made of," Jared Jeffries told Lin.
Howard Smith/US PresswireJeremy Lin shook off his struggles and pointed the Knicks to victory in the fourth quarter.
Consider the point proven.
Lin shook off a shaky three quarters in Philadelphia to bounce back with 16 points in the fourth, helping the Knicks earn a hard-fought 82-79 win.
Lin went 3-for-6 from the field in the final 12 minutes and knocked down all 10 of his free throws to help New York to its fifth straight win.
The Knicks (23-24) are just three games behind the first-place Sixers in the Atlantic Division with 19 games to go.
"That was a good test for us, kind of a measuring stick to see where we're at," Lin said. "We just want to build and hopefully we can catch them at some point."
The Knicks have won all five games with Mike Woodson on the bench.
Some predicted that "Linsanity" would die when Woodson took over because the coach's offense features plenty of isolation. Woodson also tends to put the ball in the hands of his veteran scorers.
But five games into the Woodson era, Linsanity seems alive and well.
Lin has averaged 14.8 points, six assists and 4.8 rebounds under Woodson. He's just averaging 3.2 turnovers per game and shooting 44 percent from the field.
"I'm really not too worried about what people guess is going to happen," Lin said, "Because at the end of the day, if you can play, the team can find a way to get everyone involved."
After missing 10 of his first 11 shots on Wednesday, Lin got involved in a big way in the fourth quarter.
He converted two layups in the first three minutes of the fourth to help the Knicks keep pace. Then, with New York up four, Lin shook off a Philadelphia defender with a crossover and converted another layup to give his team some breathing room.
Philadelphia got as close as two in the final 3:05 but the Knicks hit nine of 10 free throws -- including eight of eight from Lin -- to seal the win.
"I put the ball back in his hand at the end and he came up with the big plays," Woodson said.
For the first three quarters, Lin missed from all over the floor. He was 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. He missed a 21-footer from the wing, missed a 10-footer on the baseline and missed from in close.
But he kept his head, and kept shooting in the fourth.
"He does a great job of controlling himself and controlling his emotions," Jeffries said.
He also controlled the game when it mattered most on Wednesday night. And as a result, the Knicks walked off the floor with a win.