‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.”
The Giants, or should we say the Super Bowl champion Giants, have finally broken up and gone their separate ways after a raucous parade up the Canyon of Heroes.
The Jets, their players long ago dispersed to gripe privately about their teammates in the comfort of their houses and hunting cabins, are gearing up to once again whip the Giants’ tails in their annual off-season blab-fest. Might Peyton be coming this way? Might he not? Only Woody knows for sure.
That leaves us with the rest of the winter to occupy ourselves, at least until the Yanks and Mets pitchers and catchers report Feb. 19 and 21, respectively.
Now, fans can concentrate on the Rangers, who are doing quite well, thank you, in holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference. But the really big story may be with a losing New York team, the guys who play on hardwood in shorts.
The Knicks, rebounding at 11-15, may have found the remedy to their woes in the person of point guard Jeremy Lin.
In the last three games, he’s not only shown he has the smarts to run the offense — he should. He’s from Harvard, you know — but can also throw the ball in the hoop. It’s no coincidence that Lin’s 25 points and seven assists against the Nets and his 28 points and eight assists against Utah in his first start helped spark a two-game winning streak going into last night’s 23-point, 10-assist effort against the Washington Wizards.
Lin couldn’t have popped up at a better time. The Knicks had lost 11 of 13 — nine of 10 at one point during the drought. They needed someone who could break down a defense, dish with accuracy, and put some points on the board.
“He’s just what we needed,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s given us a burst of energy. He has a pace and a sense of setting guys up and a sense of where the openings are, and that’s hard to teach. Some guys have it. They’re able to read the situation and he can do it.”
One wonders how explosive that offense could become with Lin feeding Carmelo Anthony, if he ever gets over his injury problems, and Amar’e Stoudemire, who is due back Monday after the death of his brother.
Just where Lin has been all of D’Antoni’s life is a mystery. Actually, his whole road to Harvard is a mystery.
Lin grew up in Palo Alto, a brilliant kid who went unrecruited by a little school in town called Stanford. So he went across the country to Harvard, where his star performances weren’t quite enough to entice NBA general managers into drafting him.
Still, he signed on with the Golden State Warriors last season and played in 29 games after coming up from the Warriors’ D-League affiliate. Golden State released him to clear salary cap space for DeAndre Jordan’s four-year, $43 million contract.
The Houston Rockets picked him up, but was released when they signed Samuel Dalembert this year.
The Knicks signed him Dec. 27.
At least one person saw Lin’s potential from way back in high school. Golden State’s owner Joe Lacob, a Stanford booster, criticized the school for not recognizing Lin’s talents.
“It was really stupid,” Lacob said. “The kid was right across the street. You can’t recognize that, you’ve got a problem.”
The Knicks may have found the answer to one of their problems. If nothing else, Lin could make this next stretch interesting, at least.
Especially if he can keep New York’s head above water the next two weeks while Anthony’s strained groin heals.
Are you buying into the Linsanity? Sound off in the comments below!