As Thursday night’s games approached, the New York Knicks’ destiny was in their own hands. Win against the Charlotte Bobcats, a team regarded as the worst ballclub in NBA history, and Jeremy Lin ’10 and Co. clinch the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Lose and be at the mercy of the Philadelphia Sixers, with whom they were tied.
Fortunately for New York, Charlotte played like, well, Charlotte, and Lin’s team was able to coast by with a 104-84 victory. The win insured that it will play the Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason.
Though Miami will be heavily favored, this matchup could prove beneficial for the Knicks. With Lin out and the point guard position a perennial problem for the squad, playing a Heat team without a strong PG is a definite advantage. If they had lost on Thursday and dropped to the eighth spot, they would have been forced to play reigning-MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls—a much tougher matchup for a team lacking in consistent guard play.
If the Knicks manage to get past Miami, hopes are high that Lin will be able to return before the second round. On Wednesday morning, the Harvard alum was spotted doing a dieted version of an NBA workout for the first time since his knee surgery four weeks ago. The workout consisted of jogging, shooting, and a bit of dribbling.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson voiced his optimism regarding his young star’s comeback.
“He's starting to smell the gym a little bit more now, which is great,” Woodson explained. “I asked him yesterday how he felt after getting out and running a little bit, and he said he felt pretty good. But we've got to put him through drills where he's cutting and things of that nature just to make sure that the knee doesn't swell up and he's not physically sore.”
In terms of a return date, Woodson validated several rumors that had been floating around the NBA blogs.
“I'd like to think if we're able to get out of this first round, he should be ready for the second round,” Woodson said.
For now, though, the Knicks are concentrating their efforts on getting past Miami. If they manage to get by Lebron and Friends, who knows, maybe Linsanity will return in a new, evolved postseason version.