It might be the end of Linsanity as we have known it, but Jeremy Lin (林書豪) was alive and well at Madison Square Garden on Friday as the New York Knicks made it two easy wins in a row under new coach Mike Woodson.
The back page of the New York Post had the catchphrase written on a tombstone to mark the end of the free-wheeling offense Lin ran during an inspired streak under former coach Mike D’Antoni that made the -Taiwanese American a global sensation.
However, reports of his passing into oblivion were greatly -exaggerated as Lin scored 13 points, had five assists and three turnovers in New York’s 115-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers, who arrived in the Big Apple with a 25-16 record.
The win put the Knicks (20-24) into a tie with the with the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth, and came on the back of a 42-point victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Lin must continue to show his much-admired resiliency if he is to carry on the love affair with New York fans into next season and beyond.
He has now been consigned to a lower profile role after D’Antoni resigned on Wednesday with the team mired in a six-game losing streak.
The Knicks had floundered after the return of high-scoring Carmelo Anthony to D’Antoni’s Lin-led attack and were going to rely more on established scorers Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, Woodson said.
“When I’ve got to get a big shot, I’m going to go to Melo and Amar’e, and guys that have done it,” Woodson told reporters after his first formal practice with the team on Thursday.
However, despite the different approach, Woodson said that does not mean Lin’s starting job is in jeopardy.
“Jeremy is a big part of what we do. He’s our starting point guard,” Woodson said before the game on Friday.
Lin said he was consciously trying to get the ball to Anthony and Stoudemire.
Lin is being asked to master a more deferential style on court and he played under greater control on Friday while still showing flashes of the creative playmaker that captivated the fans for a euphoric few weeks last month.
Additional reporting by AFP