- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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If the Linsanity continues, the Nets will figure prominently in the Lincredible story of Jeremy Lin.
After Lin went off again for 38 points and outdueled Kobe Bryant on Friday night, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that the Knicks were on the verge of releasing the undrafted-twice-waived-multiple-NBDL-stint’d-Harvard-grad-who-sleeps-on-his-brother’s-couch-in-the-Lower-Eastside before his breakout game against New Jersey a week ago.
As Stein reminds us, Tuesday was the deadline to release players with unguaranteed before those deals became guaranteed.
So it makes you wonder: what if the Knicks didn’t play the Nets that night? What if they played a tenacious defensive team like the Bulls? Would this have happened?
The Nets failed to protect the rim and Lin exploited them out of the pick-and-roll for 25 points off the bench.
Next came the Jazz. Then the Wizards. And now, the Lakers.
But regardless of how Lin’s story turns out -- whether it’s just a Linsane week or possibly a Linsane career -- last Saturday’s breakout game against the Nets at MSG will figure prominently.
• On the other side of the river, the Nets are playing their worst basketball of the season. They’ve lost five in a row. Friday night’s 109-92 loss to the Pistons in Detroit felt like the low point of the season. Yes, they lost by 36 in their home-opener to the Hawks, but at least that was the Hawks.
This was the Pistons, the lowest scoring team in the NBA. But that same team shot 54.4 percent on Friday night, scored 56 points in the paint and had 25 assists.
The Nets scored the game’s first seven points, but the Pistons closed the first quarter on a 24-8 run and cruised to victory. The Nets’ 23-point deficit at the end of the third quarter was their biggest deficit after 36 minutes this season. They trailed by as many as 30. Johan Petro led them in points with 16.
How’s this for a stat of the night: the Pistons’ starting five was a combined plus-98. The Nets’ starting five? Minus-82.
The Nets will get right back after it on Saturday night against the Spurs. The Nets are 2-5 in the second-half of back-to-back games this season, 0-1 in the third game of back-to-back-to-back games. Their two victories came over the Bobcats and Pistons.