That is the total number of games that the Knicks have featured Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire together in their starting lineup. During that span, the Knicks have posted a 2-5 record, and experts and fans alike are questioning whether all those "Linsanity" t-shirt sales were a bit premature.
But the Jeremy Lin Show must go on, at least for the near future.
Small sample sizes of games lead to quotes like this, from NY Daily News reporter Frank Isola:
In similar fashion, a good winning streak can lead to talk of key players that "developed an on-court chemistry, and once the Knicks' two most important players began to click, it enhanced the confidence of the role players. Add to that a favorable schedule, a lucky bounce here, there and here again, and just like that, the Knicks take the court every night expecting to win."
Interestingly enough, neither of these quotes is about this year's Knicks.
The first came after the 2010-2011 Knicks started the season 3-7, while the second detailed the turnaround in the Knicks' fortunes after they won 11 of their next 12.
How many more games should Lin be allowed to start?
The value of team chemistry and on-court familiarity cannot be understated, and as D'Antoni stated after their latest loss against the Spurs, "There's no reason why everybody shouldn't do well. We just got to find the right balance of everybody getting into their spots."
However, there is a reason why it is not working right now.
One major change the team must adapt to is Carmelo Anthony learning to play off the ball more often. But let's be real, here: Melo is a super star basketball player being asked to change the way he plays the game he is dominant in: he is not being asked to transition to super star status in an entirely different sport, like baseball.
He can make the adjustment.
Stoudemire has recently started a training regimen to regain his explosiveness, shedding 10 pounds in 10 days and seeing early returns, but only time will if he will return to last year's form after a sluggish start to the year.
Jeremy Lin was unstoppable during his 6-0 beginning to his role as a starting NBA point guard. He also only played a total of 6 minutes with Carmelo Anthony during that stretch, and only played the final two games (against Toronto and Sacramento) with Stoudemire. The combined records of the teams he faced stands at 98-135 ( .421 winning percentage), with three of those teams having won one third of their games or less.
In comparison, the combined records of the teams the Knicks' trio of scorers have faced together is 144-115 (.556 winning percentage). One could easily argue that the truth behind the Knicks' current struggles is not that Lin needs to be benched, and rather that the Knicks have played teams that are just plain better than them right now.
The core members of those teams have at least a year's worth of games together. And speaking of Miami, remember how they started last year 9-8 before they gelled?
If 17 games together was not enough to give us a clear picture of what Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could do together, then seven games should not be enough to write off the combination of Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Give it time, people.
At least 10 more games to be fair.