In what seemed like a blast from the 1970s past, Madison Square Garden was rocking Sunday afternoon as the New York Knicks defeated the defending World Champion Dallas Mavericks, 104-97. The win was the eighth in the last ten games for the New York ball club.
Coming off a Friday night loss to the New Orleans Hornets, the Knicks showed tremendous resolve in an all-around team win Sunday. Six players scored in double figures, with J.R. Smith (who was just signed Friday as a free agent) and Steve Novak combining for 29 off the bench — though it was the young man everyone came to see who put on a dazzling performance.
In just his eighth career start, Jeremy Lin had arguably his greatest performance in the victory. From the initial tip-off, Dallas exhibited that they would not be single-handedly beaten by Lin and elected to trap the young point guard early. But it would be Lin’s veteran-like awareness in adjusting to the trap, and stretching it further to mid-court that would illustrate the spunk of the young sensation.
It would be that same spunk and savviness he used to steal the ball — with seconds remaining in the 3rd — and dunk it in to bring the trailing Knicks within three points, and The Garden to its feet. That same spunk exhibited when he dropped a long three-pointer in over Dirk Nowitzki (who had a game-high 34 points) with [just under] seven minutes remaining, only this time extending the Knicks lead to nine.
In what eventually resulted in a win, Lin would continue his own individual dominance, scoring a team-high 28 points while dishing out a career-high 14 assists. Through just eight starts Lin has scored 200 points and handed out 76 assists, while also leading the Knicks to seven victories and just one loss.
Perhaps what has been most impressive about the Knicks hot streak though is that they have been successful primarily without all-star forward Carmelo Anthony, who is sidelined with a groin injury. After missing several games, Anthony is expected back tonight against the New Jersey Nets. Although his return has prompted many to question how he will mesh with this new look ball club.
One thing that is for certain — however— is that if this Knicks team can function as a cohesive unit, they will be poised to make a devastating playoff run and put a damper on the Miami Heat‘s quest for a championship.