Linsanity is a term even toddlers have used to expand their vocabulary without knowing where the description originated from. Jeremy Lin took the reins of the NY Knicks’ offense when no one else could figure out how to. The Knicks were barely mentioned as contenders before his seven-game stretch of greatness put them on the map.
It seems a bit extreme that Lin could have that much influence over such a big market franchise that the Knicks have grown to be. Yet, his position on the team rings success. At least it did before Carmelo Anthony came off of injury reserve.
However, Carmelo’s reign of terror started well before “Linsanity” concluded. Last season, even after the Knicks had their big star in Amar'e Stoudemire come stumbling into town from Phoenix, they wanted more. They needed more. Stoudemire as the King of New York was not enough star-power to bring prominence back to Madison Square Garden.
Once Carmelo began yearning for a spot in the town he and his wife grew up in, the Knicks jumped at the opportunity to lure him into the city of bright lights and fast-paced living. Coupled with Stoudemire, Anthony’s 20-plus point average and pure scoring ability would do nothing but cascade into the postseason as Miami’s biggest threat, or at least second-best.
Former New York unsung hero Chauncey Billups was just the cherry on top that made their predicted playoff run more solid and productive.
All at once, that dream came crashing down. Both Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups went down during the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics, and Anthony’s 26.0 PTS and 10.3 REB averages were not enough to propel the Knicks into the second round. Then the scope shone on Coach Mike D’Antoni.
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It is not as if the thought was not trouncing in the minds of New York’s fans. They had been wondering if D’Antoni was the man that would lead the Knicks to a championship, and those worries were not dying down with the addition of Carmelo that came to no avail.
This season was supposed to be better. With a healthy Billups and Stoudemire on the roster, they were primed to make a deeper run in this season’s playoffs. And then Billups was waived and shipped off to the LA Clippers where he excelled to massive proportions. Of course, the season-ending surgery he endured is not missed, but the Knicks could have definitely used his leadership.
Carmelo strikes again. The Knicks were left with Baron Davis, an aging and injured guard on the downslope of his career.
Then there was Tyson Chandler. The Knicks brought in the big-man role player from last year’s free agency, and they had their missing pieces firmly aligned. However, after several games at the beginning of February, Anthony was benched due to injury, and the Knicks’ increasingly ugly season was destined to get even more atrocious.
That was until Lin stepped up and showed out. Thus, Linsanity had been born. He was as much of a household name as Tim Tebow during his days as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback. There were even fans naming him the season’s MVP.
The Knicks went on a seven-game winning streak under Lin’s wing, and they seemed as if they were on the right track. Then, two games later, after a win over the Dallas Mavericks, in comes Anthony, and everything seemed just as confusing as it had been before he left.
He was not influencing the franchise as he had been expected to, and the blame was less on his shoulders and more on how D’Antoni worked him back into the offensive system. In comes Anthony and out goes D’Antoni around the league’s trade deadline of March 15. The word was that D’Antoni resigned, citing that it was best for the team.
The franchise was once again on the up and up. With interim head coach Mike Woodson calling the plays, things seemed to be righted. No more lack of defense. No more run-and-gun. No more Linsanity.
However, as we approach the most important time of professional basketball, the NBA playoffs, Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin are down and out of the game, and the Knicks are fighting to keep the eight seed in the Eastern Conference in their camp.
Stoudemire’s bulging disk will keep him out for a few weeks and Lin’s knee surgery will keep him out of the game for at least the rest of the regular season and possibly the beginning of the postseason. Here we are again. The Knicks are at half capacity.
It is a truth that MSG fans have had to battle with ever since Anthony came into the organization. Things can go right some of the time, but they’ll go wrong more often.
Carmelo’s arrival in the Knicks’ franchise should have been a joyous homecoming. Instead, his stay in the Big Apple has been plagued with injury, mediocrity and underachievement. Things seemed so much easier before. Before ‘Melo, that is.