Already writing the NBA’s best story, Jeremy Lin (林書豪) has now scripted a thrilling finish.
Nothing about the kid from Harvard should be a surprise anymore. When he launched a three-pointer in a tie game with a half-second left in Toronto on Tuesday night, the result seemed obvious.
“I knew it was going in,” Knicks guard Iman Shumpert said.
Who would doubt it at this point? Lin’s three-pointer capped his finishing flurry of six straight points to close the game as the Knicks rallied for a 90-87 victory over the Raptors, extending their winning streak to six.
Their season sputtering just two weeks ago, before Lin escaped the bench, the Knicks (14-15) can get back to .500 with a victory over Sacramento in a game that begins at 8:30am this morning Taiwan time. The game is being broadcast in Taiwan by Star Sports, as well as on ELTA Sports (愛爾達體育台), on Chunghwa Telecom’s MOD platform.
And with Lin running their show, that’s exactly what they expect.
“He continues to impress every night,” New York’s Jared Jeffries said. “Every game he plays better, he does more and more to help us win basketball games. You can’t ask any more of a kid coming into this situation.”
The Eastern Conference player of the week scored 27 points and added a career-high 11 assists, shaking off a sloppy first half to carry the Knicks down the stretch.
Toronto led 87-82 with less than two minutes to go when Shumpert stole the ball from Jose Calderon and drove in for an uncontested dunk. After a missed shot, Lin completed a three-point play, tying it at 87 with 1:05 left.
Leandro Barbosa missed a three for Toronto and, at the other end, Shumpert missed a jumper, but Tyson Chandler grabbed the rebound. Lin took the ball near midcourt and let the clock run down to five seconds before driving and pulling up against Calderon to bury the decisive shot.
“You just watch and you’re in awe,” coach Mike D’Antoni D’Antoni said. “He held it until five-tenths of a second left. He was pretty confident that was going in, no rebounds, no nothing. That ball was being buried.”
Lin struggled early. He didn’t score for the first eight minutes of the game, then turned the ball over on three straight possessions early in the second quarter and Toronto took advantage with a 6-0 run, widening their lead to 13 points. That was long forgotten by the end.
Additional reporting by staff writer