Well, so much for that. In their attempt to assert their place among the NBA’s elite teams, Jeremy Lin ‘10 and the New York Knicks were derailed by the Miami Heat, falling 102-88 on Thursday night.
The stars came out to watch Lin square off against the league’s best team; Floyd Mayweather, Spike Lee, and Chad Ochocinco all had front row seats for the latest installment of Linsanity. But the Heat threw a wet blanket on the phenomenon, trapping and harassing Lin into a dreadful 1-11 shooting performance and eight turnovers.
After a Carmelo Anthony jumper at the halftime buzzer, the Knicks ended an uneven first half trailing by only four points, 51-47. But the Heat would take control in the third quarter, outscoring the Knicks 29-19, including 25 points from the Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
For his part, Lin finished with eight points, six rebounds, and three assists. And, yet again, his turnover numbers were unsustainably high. He looked uncomfortable dealing with Heat point guard Mario Chalmers’ tenacious ball pressure and the traps thrown at him by the Miami big men. Perhaps the league’s most athletic team, the Heat swarmed Lin and the Knicks all night, forcing 12 steals and recording 10 blocks.
Though there’s certainly no reason to write the Knicks off yet, tonight’s result showed that they have quite a long way to go before they can match up effectively with the NBA’s best teams. New York was never able to match the Heat’s defensive intensity and crisp rotation. With the loss, the Knicks’ record again fell below .500 at 17-18.
"It's one game," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said after the game. "And we're not there yet. They're there. They're the team right now to beat for everybody. They're playing better than everybody. And we're trying to get our team together."
The NBA regular season now pauses for All-Star Weekend, held in Orlando from Friday to Sunday. The Knicks resume play next Wednesday against the struggling Cavaliers before embarking on a tough three-game road trip that includes games against Boston, Dallas, and San Antonio in a four-day span.