Jeremy Lin will not play for the remainder of the series between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat due to a meniscus tear in his left knee. However, three key factors suggest that not playing Lin will actually help the Knicks' chances of winning the series.
Jeremy Lin is most effective with the ball in his hands because he is so good running the pick-and-roll.
However, Carmelo Anthony is also most effective with the ball in his hands because he is one of the best one-on-one scorers in the game. Anthony was the main reason the Knicks were able to win Game 4, as he finished the game with 41 points on 15-of-29 shooting.
After finally winning a playoff game, it would’ve been a mistake for the Knicks to alter their strategy and have Jeremy Lin run the pick-and-roll in Game 5. The Knicks will have a better chance of winning now that they can give the ball to Melo and have him go to work against Shane Battier.
If Jeremy Lin were to play Game 5, he would not be 100-percent healthy. For Lin to be effective, he needs to be quick off the pick-and-roll. If he’s slowed down by a knee injury, the Knicks will struggle to score points.
He also hasn’t played since March 24, and I expect him to be pretty rusty. Defenders already know he’s not a great jump shooter when healthy, so they will give him a lot of space to shoot to make sure he can’t create anything off the dribble.
While Tyson Chandler is the Defensive Player of the Year this season and Landry Fields can hold his own on the defensive end, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are both below-average defensive players at their position.
If you added Lin to that duo, they would have three players on the floor at one time who are defensive liabilities. They would have an almost impossible time trying to stop the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
J.R. Smith should get a lot of playing time tonight, and although he’s not amazing on the defensive end himself, he is more athletic and a better defender than Lin is. The Knicks went 12-5 in the regular season after Lin got hurt, and part of that is because they have been a much better defensive team in his absence.
Expect Carmelo Anthony to continue to play well the rest of the series and for the Knicks to continue to give the Heat a hard time scoring points.