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2.20 The Cooler

Linsanity Overwhelms The Defending NBA Champions; Durant Drops 51 On Denver

By 02.20.12

Jeremy Lin

So many story lines to watch during Sunday’s Mavs/Knicks national TV matchup: Carmelo Anthony‘s anticipated return ultimately being postponed another day; the Phoenix glory days reunion with Amar’e Stoudemire, Mike D’Antoni and Shawn Marion; Dirk Nowitzki‘s chance to prove he really does deserve an All-Star berth; Jason Kidd and Vince Carter playing on the Madison Square Garden court for perhaps the final time in their respective careers; Tyson Chandler seeing his former Dallas teammates for the first time since they won a championship together; NYC native Lamar Odom playing in front of his hometown crowd; and newly-signed J.R. Smith playing his first game as a Knick … Oh yeah, and there was something about this new point guard on the Knicks who’s been playing pretty well lately. Pretty much everything the Knicks did, Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown managed to link back to Jeremy Lin. During the second quarter, we swear we heard Bald-Head Mike credit Lin for New York’s 1970 NBA championship and for designing J.R. Smith’s last four tattoos. Hubie was ready to make Lin the poster child for his campaign that the NBA start recording hockey assists (the pass leading to the pass leading to the bucket). And in the studio, Magic Johnson made it his mission to put his personal stamp of approval on Lin as a legit player. Of course Lin also had the sit-down interview halftime feature where Rachel Nichols tried to make him cry, and the ABC cameras were so trained on Lin that they forgot to give Dallas’ owner, Odom’s wife and Spike Lee their usual allotment of camera time … The Knicks broke away with a 17-0 run in the first quarter, leading by a dozen at the end of the frame after Lin (28 pts, 14 asts, 5 stls, 7 TOs) beat the buzzer with a floater over Dirk. Smith (15 pts) came off the bench and hit three triples during the run, including a step-back in the corner with the shot clock winding down … The Mavs cut the lead to three by halftime, then came out in the third quarter playing like you’d expect the defending NBA champs to play. Dirk started the run with a fadeaway, then baited Amar’e into a four-point play. Vince knocked down a three, J-Kidd made a pull-up, and Marion hit a runner as the Mavs started to find more holes in New York’s defense than the Brooklyn Brawler’s t-shirt … Dallas was threatening to make it a blowout before J-Lin got consecutive and-ones off the drive to bring NY back to life, then ended the third quarter with a backcourt steal and dunk. Steve Novak took over for a spell early in the fourth as the game officially reached “playoff atmosphere,” netting 14 points and four threes in what felt like maybe a minute. Lin stuck two more pull-up threes – one in front of Dirk and another in front of Marion – and New York found itself up by five with 30 seconds left. Dallas’ last good possession resulted in Lin stripping Dirk (34 pts, 11-20 FG) and during an awkward pause where everybody was waiting for a foul to be called, Chandler (14 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks) ended up all alone for a breakaway dunk that was the dagger …
Spike Lee is apparently over his Landry Fields crush – he’s now wearing a Harvard No. 4 jersey on the sidelines. Do you think Spike broke the news to Landry via text, or did Landry arrive for shootaround with Joey Greco and a camera crew at his side? Not that Spike has ever been a front-runner or anything, though. (This is the part when you cough and say “Kobe Doin’ Work”) … You know a basketball team is on fire when they start games in the kind of rhythm that would have you believe it’s already the second half. The Heat hit the ground running – when they weren’t flying – against Orlando yesterday and never looked back. Dwyane Wade (27 pts, 6 rebs, 3 blks) made the game’s first bucket on the kind of turnaround fadeaway that normal people don’t even attempt until they’ve at least run up and down the court a few times, then Wade hit an even tougher turnaround from the corner a few minutes later. Flash added a half-court alley-oop dunk (courtesy LeBron) and a Jordan-esque up-and-under on his way to 19 first-half points … LeBron (25 pts, 11 rebs, 8 asts) gave the Heat a 20-point lead with three minutes left in the game on a breakaway pump-handle slam that just further teased everybody who wants to see a real superstar in the All-Star Weekend dunk contest, then he and the starters called it a day … Keep reading to hear about the stat stuffers in OKC …


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TOPICS#CLEVELAND CAVALIERS#KEVIN DURANT#LeBron James#NEW YORK KNICKS
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