Nets, Spurs notice 'Linsanity,' too

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
12:42
AM ET
All the recent "Linsanity" over Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin? Blame it on the Big Apple, ex-Net Richard Jefferson says.

"It's New York, it's New York. It's New York City. You do it in the Garden, in New York City against the Lakers, you're doing it for the Knicks," the Spurs small forward said prior to his team's 103-89 victory over the Nets on Saturday night at Prudential Center.

"He'd be getting a lot of attention if he was doing it any place, but doing it in the Garden, doing it for the Knicks makes it that much more special."

Lin went off again on Saturday night in Minnesota, as the Knicks extended their winning streak to five. He needed 24 shots to score 20 points, but drained the go-ahead free throw late. The legend of Lin continues.

Nets coach Avery Johnson has been impressed with what the undrafted Harvard grad has accomplished -- seemingly out of nowhere.

"I think it's great," Johnson said. "I think it's great for the NBA, any time a guy is an underdog and basically is about to get cut, again, and makes it."

Spurs coach Greg Popovich feels the same way.

"It seems strange, it seems out of the blue where all of the sudden this guy's kicking everybody's butt and no one can stop him," Popovich said. "He's helping a team to win with some of its stars that are out, and it just seems improbable, and that's why the story is so great and everyone is in enjoying it."

Povovich claims he isn't surprised. He's probably the only one. Could you really have seen this one coming? Lin has been living on his brother's couch, after all.

"No. In today's world, are you serious?" Popovich said to a reporter, laughing. "There's gazillions of your type everywhere, just waiting for a story. And when something like that happens, its upbeat, it's a win-win for everybody. Everybody's jumping on it. It's an international story. … It's great."

Jefferson is happy for Lin. The two became friendly after they met during pregame chapel sessions.

"It couldn't happen to a better person," Jefferson said. "He's a firm believer that god puts you where you need to be when you need to be there. Like I said, he's a good kid and I'm happy for him."

Johnson thinks Lin is the perfect role model for everyone -- including his son, Avery Jr., who is currently a sophomore in high school.

"For me it's a good argument because I've been trying to encourage my son to go play basketball at an Ivy League school," Johnson said. "My daughter attends an Ivy League school, but he thought you can't go to the NBA from an Ivy League school."

Yes, Jeremy Lin is the American Dream. Most Americans dream of graduating Harvard. But starring in the NBA, too? C’mon now! That's Linsanity!

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 92, Lakers 85

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
8:07
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Hope nobody got used to that whole "4-2 road trip" thing. Linsanity continued for another night at Madison Square Garden, and the Lakers lost to the Knicks 92-85, meaning with a win over Toronto on Sunday, the best the Lakers can do is 3-3.

On the heels of an impressive win in Boston, it was definitely a disappointing 48 minutes for the purple and gold. Here are five takeaways:


Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Jeremy Lin stole the show from Kobe Bryant Friday at MSG.


1. Andrew Bynum struggled against extra attention.

Mike D'Antoni's defensive scheme was basically to throw bodies at Kobe Bryant on nearly every touch and at Bynum whenever he caught it in the post. While Bynum has shown reasonably steady improvement in working through double-teams, on Friday night, he couldn't get it going. He struggled to anticipate how bodies would be sent at him and from where. Sometimes he went for his shot too slowly, other times too fast, and as the misses mounted, so did Bynum's frustration. In the third, Bynum got the ball on the left block, turned to the basket and found a wall of white jerseys. He made the right play, passing out to the perimeter, but his shoulders dropped immediately. The body language was clear.

By the end, Drew was missing chippies at the rim. He finished with three points, missing all but one of his eight shots.

Defensively, Bynum did his best to seal off the paint and got after it on the glass (13 rebounds), but in a game I'm sure he thought he'd dominate on both ends, things never opened up. In part because ...

2. The Lakers give teams absolutely no reason to lay off the post.

As it was in Boston, the Lakers' 3-point shooting was again suspect, at 6-of-24 overall. And generally speaking, these weren't the hand-in-the-face variety, either. The Lakers simply missed more wide-open triples than any NBA team should. Kobe was 1-for-5, Steve Blake 1-of-8. If the Lakers can't space the floor, even undersized teams will have the ability to cheat down on L.A.'s bigs and clog the paint.

(Read full post)

Lakers at Knicks: What to watch, with ESPN New York

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
9:04
AM PT
By The Kamenetzky brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive


The Lakers are coming off a quality OT win in Boston, which in theory creates the chance for a 4-2 Grammy roadie. The trek concludes in Toronto against a shoddy Raptors crew after a trip to meet a Knicks team that is missing superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, who weren't exactly laying a winning foundation, anyway. Even acknowledging their three-game winning streak, the shorthanded hosts should play the role of carcasses to the purple and gold vultures, right?

Well, that's exactly what was expected from a recent game in Milwaukee with Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson sidelined. For those with short memories, that emerged an embarrassing Lakers loss. In other words, this game may be imminently winnable, but the Lakers won't be awarded a W by default. They gotta play the game.

For some perspective on the Knicks, we talked to Jared Zwerling, who covers the team for ESPN New York. Here are his thoughts on five questions.

Land O' Lakers: Jeremy Lin has been huge during this recent surge. What in particular does he provide that the Knicks were lacking?


Brad Mills/US Presswire
Linsanity is taking over New York!


Jared Zwerling: For starters, he's very composed. Lin entered a very challenging situation, as the Knicks were desperate for substantial point guard play. He could have buckled under that pressure in an increased role in only his second year in the league. Not to mention, he's playing for the Knicks, in New York City, scrutiny taken to a whole other level. I was chatting the other day with Idan Ravin, one of the top NBA trainers in the world, and he said he's been most impressed with Lin's calmness and selfless approach. Sports psychologists say those are defining factors in superstars. They don't get rattled and make others look good. Lin has excelled in both.

Beyond his mental makeup, Lin's pick-and-roll game has been exquisite. He maneuvers well around screens, is patient and even has the dribbling ability to split double-teams like a Dwyane Wade. His standout pick-and-roll game has enabled Tyson Chandler more opportunities at the basket and the Knicks' shooters more open looks from downtown. When Lin is on the court, the Knicks are scoring more points in the paint and shooting a higher percentage.

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On Saturday night, Lin > D-Will

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
11:50
PM ET
The best point guard in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night wasn't Deron Williams. It was a Harvard graduate by the name of Jeremy Lin.

The Nets held Carmelo Anthony to 3-for-15 shooting and Amare Stoudemire played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble, but Lin abused the Nets all evening long, pouring in a career-high 25 points off the bench as the Knicks emerged with a 99-92 victory.

"We tried to trap him, he beat our traps. We tried to stay back on him, and he threw up some Hail Marys and they went in," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "I guess he'll have a good day at church [Sunday]."

Nicole Sweet/US PresswireLittle-used Jeremy Lin was too much for Deron Williams, one of the NBA's best point guards.
In an ugly game that came down to who wanted it more, the team that was playing its third game in three nights emerged over the team that was playing its fourth game in five nights. Lin outscored Williams 12-7 in the fourth quarter, and the Nets went 3-for-10 in the final 5½ minutes as the Knicks closed the contest on a 17-10 run that proved to be the difference.

"I didn't do a good job containing Jeremy Lin," said Williams, who scored just 11 of his 21 points after the first quarter. "There's so much focus on Carmelo and Amare and the other guys, and our game plan was to help off him. And he just started knocking down shots and got confidence and he was relentless taking it to the basket."

On Friday night, it was a Montenegrin by the name of Nikola Pekovic who abused the Nets inside. On Saturday night, it was Lin, an undrafted backup, who abused them with his crafty ball-handling in the pick-and-roll.

"We did a good job containing the stars on those teams and other guys stepped up and beat us," Williams said. "It seemed like they beat us to a lot of loose balls and rebounds that we should've had, especially with them playing three games in three nights."

The Nets got off to a sizzling start, hitting four of their first five 3-pointers, scoring a season high-tying 30 first-quarter points and taking a 10-point lead into the second period. But they went just 6-for-21 from deep the rest of the way, were outrebounded 48-39 and outscored in the paint, 60-28.

"We started off the game great and we got good things and I think we got away from that," Williams said. "They started switching and we just got out of our offense totally. From there, it was just trying to find good shots and good looks, and then we had some breakdowns on defense that really cost us."

By we, Williams must've meant, "I." His pick-and-roll defense was atrocious. When he was supposed to get over screens, he went under them. When he was supposed to body up on Lin, he let the speedy 23-year-old drive right past him for a layup.

"We tried to give him different looks on our pick-and-roll coverage, and he just had a terrific game," Johnson said of Lin.

The Knicks are still lousy. The Nets are too, but at least they have an excuse.

Not having Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks makes winning games extremely difficult. Allowing anonymous players like Lin and Pekovic to go off makes winning games flat out impossible.

The Nets (8-17) have now lost to the Knicks (9-15) five straight times. Saturday night's game is one they’d love to have back.

"This was a boxing match, they swung last and kind of knocked us out," Johnson said.

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 99, Nets 92

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
10:01
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks are terrible, but the Nets can't figure them out. New Jersey lost its fifth straight game to New York, 99-92 on Saturday night. The Nets (8-17) led by as many as 12 but couldn't contain Jeremy Lin -- who? -- and were outrebounded by the much taller Knicks, 48-39.

TURNING POINT: A 9-2 run late in the fourth quarter fueled the Knicks to victory.

EVERYBODY STILL HATES KRIS: Kris Humphries was booed every time he touched the ball -- again. But the boos provided the motivation for his 20-point, 12-rebound performance. Humphries was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, though.

D-WILL: Deron Williams got off to a strong start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. But he scored just 11 points the rest of the way, and finished 7-for-19 from the field. Williams filled up the stat sheet in other ways, dishing out 11 assists and adding six rebounds.

SIZZLING START The Nets scored a season-high tying 30 points in the first quarter and led by 10 after one. They went 5-for-10 from 3-point range in the opening stanza.

PLAY OF THE GAME: D-Will's behind-the-back-pass to Hump for a dunk that gave the Nets a 35-28 lead in the second quarter.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Nets started out 4-for-5 from 3-point range, but finished 6 for their last 21.

UP NEXT: Nets vs. Bulls, 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Pregame notes: Shaq closer to return

March, 4, 2011
3/04/11
7:11
PM ET


BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors that Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) had lobbied to play this weekend, but Rivers suggested it's more likely that both O'Neal and Delonte West (sprained right ankle) will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Delonte is day-to-day, but I doubt he’ll play this weekend," said Rivers, who takes his troops to Milwaukee for a Sunday night battle with the Bucks. The Celtics enjoy two days of rest before the Clippers visit.

"Shaq actually wants to play on Sunday, but I think he needs more practice time, so he’ll probably play next Wednesday -- if nothing happens in practice, and I'm scared to say that now that our shootarounds been so grueling."

O'Neal, who has sat out the last 11 games and hasn't been on the floor since Feb. 1, participated in skeleton drills before Thursday's practice, but will likely need additional full-contact action before Rivers is confident to put him back out.

West has missed 51 games this season, including the last two after rolling his right ankle during skeleton drills in an informal practice with Boston's trade acquisitions on Sunday.

A couple other quick pregame notes:

* Newly acquired Sasha Pavlovic is on the active roster for Friday's game and, after another crash course in Boston's philosophies Friday morning, he's ready to dive in.

"Whatever coach asks me todo, I'm going to try and do my best," said Pavlovic.

Rivers said it was more likely the team will lean on Von Wafer first if they need a perimeter player off the bench early.

* With Celtics top reserve Glen Davis sidelined due to a strained patella tendon in his left knee, expect heightened activity for Jeff Green and Troy Murphy at the power forward spot. Rivers said he won't increase Kevin Garnett's minutes and will also lean on Chris Johnson at times.

* Rivers said that Johnson, signed out of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract at last Thursday's trade deadline, is likely to get another 10-day deal with Boston when that original deal expires on Saturday.

"I don’t know, but I think we will," said Rivers. "He hasn’t played much, but in that Denver game, I thought he was terrific. If we can figure out a way to get him on [Big] Baby’s weight program, he’d be terrific."

* Harvard's Jeremy Lin is inactive for Friday's homecoming game, but Brookline High product Jeff Adrien is active. So is newly acquired Al Thornton after being bought out by the Washington Wizards.

Sources: Lin near deal with Warriors

July, 21, 2010
7/21/10
11:00
AM ET
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/GettyA scout said of Jeremy Lin's play in Las Vegas: "He showed that he can be an NBA point guard."
ESPN.com's Marc Stein details how Harvard product Jeremy Lin is close to inking a deal with the Golden State Warriors:
The Golden State Warriors are closing in on signing summer-league sensation Jeremy Lin, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Warriors, by offering to guarantee more than half of Lin's potential first-year salary of nearly $500,000, have reached an agreement with the point guard from Harvard.

Lin is expected to receive a multiyear deal, sources said. The deal has not been signed.

Lin's Bay Area roots and consistently strong performance with the Dallas Mavericks' squad in Las Vegas prompted the Warriors to chase Lin hard and ultimately outbid a handful of teams that have been pursuing him since summer-league play ended Sunday.

The Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers were among the first teams to try to sign the 6-foot-3 guard for next season, but agent Roger Montgomery told ESPNDallas.com on Monday that the publicity Lin attracted for outplaying prized Mavs youngster Roddy Beaubois -- while routinely flashing better-than-expected athleticism in the process -- generated a clutch of new offers.

Click HERE to read the full story.

Report: Jeremy Lin to Golden State

July, 20, 2010
7/20/10
11:09
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports the Warriors are nearing a partially guaranteed deal with former Hah-vahd gahd Jeremy Lin, who captured the imagination of (an admittedly news-hungry) Lakers Nation (or part of it, at least) for a magical 24-ish hours.

We now return to your regularly scheduled Shannon Brown Watch.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.2 3.1 1.0 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 6.6
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.7
StealsS. Larkin 1.2
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3