What else can you say about Lin?
Was the ending surprising? On Asian Heritage Night, with 20,000 people packed into the Air Canada Centre and the rest of the world watching, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks provided another magical ending to what is already an unbelievable run. This night was a special one being Valentine’s Day and all. Lin played the cruel version of Cupid, and shot a 3 point dagger through the Raptors’ heart.
Jeremy dribbled up to the line with the score tied at 87 a piece and 5 seconds to go in the 4th quarter. Jose Calderon, guarding Lin, was damned if he would let Lin drive past him again. So he stayed back a bit. Lin made a slight crouch forward as if to start driving in. Instead he quickly and smoothly stepped into a 3 pointer that touched the back of the basket with half a second left. Calderon played well even to the last basket but maybe destiny had Jeremy’s hand. The home of the Raptors erupted in cheer for the away team, specifically for Lin the Conqueror. Never has the crowd been so happy that the visiting team won! After the game, he modestly said, “I’m thankful that the coach and my teammates trust me with the ball at the end of the game, I like having it at the end of the game. I’m just very thankful.”
Lin struggled horribly in the first half while the Raptors got off to a hot start. Committing 5 turnovers in the first half, Lin looked bamboozled. Calderon played with confidence and ferocity, staking the Raptors to a nice 46-37 lead at the half. The Raptors played tight and up in your face defense. Linas Kleiza, Jose Calderon, and Amir Johnson playing with energy put out good scoring numbers. Jeremy on the other hand looked more the amateur than the supernova he’s been. It was painful to watch, the kid looked like he had come down to earth. Turnover after turnover. Some doubting Thomases in the crowd booed him. The Knicks simply looked out of sync. The return of Amare Stoudemire didn’t help much as Lin was used to driving into the lane and now Stoudemire was camped under the basket. You could feel the hope draining out of the crowd. Toronto was where the run would end.
At half time though, it’s not known if Jeremy pulled out his Bible and looked for some answers in the scripture. If ever he found one, it probably read something like, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” – Matthew 10:22.
The Knicks came out in the 2nd half and played better as a whole. Lin started scoring more and dishing some nice passes included a drive and wrap around the defender pass to Stoudemire for an easy dunk. The Knicks were still 9 points down at the end of the 3rd quarter. For some reason though, the Raptors scored only 12 points in the 4th quarter. They seem to let off the gas and now were just floating towards the ditch. Misses and turnovers allowed the Knicks to claw back to the final and monumental play. Calderon who finished with a commendable 25 points and 9 assists scored no points in the fourth quarter. Iman Shumpert was put on Calderon and played excellent defence on him, something Lin is lacking at the moment.
The Knicks return to New York tommorow to play a back-to-back game against the Sacramento Kings. And the Lin-train keeps on rolling.
Watch the game highlights below: