Mind over Matters: Knicks' Linsanity highlights NBA's midseason play


First there was Tebow time. Now there’s Linsanity. In case you’ve been living under a sports rock for the last two weeks or so, Jeremy Lin, who plays for the New York Knicks, has taken over sports media. Jeremy Lin, an undrafted Harvard graduate, spent most of the 2010-2011 season on the Golden State Warriors’ bench. He accounted for a mere 76 points throughout the entire season, adding 33 steals, 34 rebounds and 42 assists. The 2011-2012 season looked like it was heading in the same direction, though Lin had been traded to the Knicks. Hardly.

On Feb. 4, the New Jersey Nets entered Madison Square Garden to try and cause the Knicks to go 0-for-3 on a back-to-back-to-back stretch versus the Bulls, Celtics and Nets respectively. By all accounts it should have been a Nets victory: superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire would do little to help the Knicks, as Melo went 3-for-15 from the field and Amare got in foul trouble. Coming off of the bench, Lin would play for 36 minutes, a minute longer than Anthony, 11 minutes longer than Stoudemire, while providing 25 points to help the Knicks win 99-92. Linsanity was now in motion, though no one knew it yet.

Two days later, Jeremy Lin was a starter against the Utah Jazz. Lin put up 28 points, eight assists, and two steals and rebounds each. The Knicks would win again, 99-88. Linsanity was starting to take shape, and the Knicks were now 2-0. Two more days of media hype and an away game later, Lin had his first double-double (23 points, 10 assists), his first NBA dunk and the Knicks showed that they could use this momentum on the road as well, defeating John Wall and the Washington Wizards 107-93.

However, the real test was yet to come, as the Knicks were to host the perennial NBA juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers, featuring superstars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace (the Artest formerly known as Ron), at home on Feb. 10. How would the new Knicks respond behind this sensation Lin and without their own mega-stars Stoudemire and Anthony? 38 points, seven assists and out playing five-time NBA Kobe Bryant was the result.

After beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Knicks would head to Toronto, riding Linsanity for five-straight wins. So what hasn’t this come-out-of-nowhere phenom done yet? Oh that’s right, hit a game-winning shot. Lin would post another 27 points and 11 assists, but the game-winning three-point jumper with 0.5 seconds on the clock, over Jose Calderon, were the biggest.

The Knicks would go on to beat the Kings and extend their streak to seven games in a row behind this Lin-sation. However, the magic ended at the hands of the Chris Paul-less New Orleans Hornets, as Lin posted 26 points, but had nine turnovers. Was that seven-game stretch a fluke, or is Linsanity here to stay? Ask the 2007-2008 Mercer men’s basketball team: Lin produced 23 points, nine assists and nine rebounds against them while playing at Harvard.