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Just Lin Time: 76ers Face New Enemy

When the Knicks come to town, people think one of two things: 1) The Knicks are just a bunch of overpaid, selfish stars who can’t actually win a game. 2) Jeremy Lin is about to drop a double-double and crush us, asking themselves, “How did that just happen?” Well I can tell you one thing, JEREMY LIN IS THE REAL DEALand isn’t good for a Sixers team mired in a slump.

Lin was always the big man on campus at Harvard, but he's set NY's media ablaze.

It is rare that a player coming out of Harvard, undrafted, and cut by two NBA teams that are not even playoff contenders (Warriors and Rockets) does what Jeremy Lin did in the last 10 games. The pressure of wearing a Knick uniform and playing in Madison Square Garden is incredible. On top of that, the crowd “boos” whenever the Knicks miss one shot! Not to mention that the whole Knicks roster is just one huge ball hog, ranking 24th out of 30 NBA teams in assists per game at just over 13 per game. This kid plays in a city full of people who will turn on you in a minute and a team that will turn on you in a minute, too. Well, for those of you who do not believe in Jeremy Lin, well let me give you some stats.

He averages 25 POINTS PER GAME IN JUST 10 GAMES PLAYED. JLin went from being cut by a team that was 30 games under .500 to knifing through defenders and pulling off Kobe Bryant-esque and-1 plays. That isn’t enough for you? In his first game, coming off the bench, he scored 25 points and dished 7 assists in 36 minutes, leading the Knicks to a comeback win over the Nets.

Lin after beating the Lakers with a last-second 3. It was by far his most impressive performance.

Still not enough? In his third game, he scored a career-high 38 points against the Lakers, leading the Knicks to a 7-point upset without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. In his 5th game, he hit a game-winning, pull-up 3 pointer over Jose Calderon to beat the Raptors.

Just a few days ago, Lin lit up the Mavericks for 28 points and dished a career-high 14 assists. It resulted in another 7-point victory. Lin also drained pull-up 3 pointers over a 7”0′ Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. LHen has led the Knicks to a season turnaround, a 7 game-winning streak, and overall an 8-2 record to pull within a few games of the division lead in the Atlantic.

So, the #1 question that Philly has when facing the Knicks is, “What will Jeremy Lin do to the Sixers”? Well, I can predict the answer, and Philly will not like it.

Point guards that can score have had field-days against Jrue Holiday and other Sixer guards. Just days ago, T’Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who is not a sensational scorer, lit Jrue up for 22 points and helped the Wolves beat the Sixers by 1 point. If Rubio can do this, and he is not having anywhere near the effect that Lin is having, then it is scary to imagine what will happen when Jeremy takes the court against the Sixers.

Lin can get to the basket, make free throws, and he can shoot in the clutch. This makes him very tough to defend because he is unpredictable. With his ability to drain clutch 3’s you do not want to leave him open outside, but with the way he can drive, you want to be ready to take him if he decides to go to the basket. In addition, his basketball IQ (Harvard helps) is uncanny and another facet of his game worth noting.

The Knicks' plethora of offensive options could leave Collins searching for answers (ESPN).

Doug Collins could try to match Andre Iguodala, who is a very good defender, up with Lin. But, who would cover Melo? Jrue Holiday? Melo would have the easy advantage there. So, what to do? The Sixers have had some luck in close games when opposing teams players have had an off night, occasionally missing wide open shots in the final minutes of games. But, you cannot just assume that Lin will be off and that it will be a close game. The only solution is that Jrue Holiday puts some glue on his shoes because he will have to be able to stay on the speedy Lin if the Sixers hope to win. He will have to tighten up his defense. A lot.

With the addition of J.R. Smith, the Knicks are now even more of a 3 point threat. Their offensive diversity allows Lin to be the primary scorer or simply the facilitator! But, we will just have to wait and see what happens when the Knicks and Sixers take the court and resume their rivalry. Whether the Sixers win or not depends on Jrue Holiday’s defense on Jeremy Lin and whether the Sixers can go back to their old scoring ways. The Sixers have not scored 100 or more points in 15 STRAIGHT games, averaging 95 on the season, good for 13th in the NBA.

However, their defense makes up for this, giving up only 87 points per game, good for 1st in the NBA. This lack of scoring, I would say, is due almost entirely to the absence of Spencer Hawes. The Sixers are 20-13, having lost 4 straight ball games, are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Knicks are 16-17, having lost on Monday in a tough loss to the Nets, 100-92, are 8-2 in their last 10. There are two solutions to beating Jeremy Lin and the Knickerbockers: better defense from Sixers guards and putting the ball in the net.

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Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Austin Krell

Sixers beat writer and NBA analyst

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3 Comments on “Just Lin Time: 76ers Face New Enemy”

  1. Austin Krell
    February 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Well I don’t want to insult the head of Khandyman himself, but whenever melo takes more than 25 shots per game, he scores about 35 pg. not good

    • February 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      He’s a prolific scorer, but only shoots the rock at 39.8%, compared to 48.7% for Lin.

  2. February 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Nice article. I think double-teaming Lin is a problem because of how many options the Knicks have, but the best way to beat them is to force the ball away from good shooters and make ‘Melo take too many shots.

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