Kobe Bryant, Meet Jeremy Lin: Lakers Legend Embarrassed by Newest Knick

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives in the second quarter against Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

If you missed Kobe Bryant having a laugh with the media about the mystery that's Jeremy Lin, it's an absolute must-see. After a career-high 38 points and seven assists, Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks had the last laugh in a seven-point shocker over Bryant's Lakers.

Bryant had forgotten Lin's first game against the Lakers last year, which had been one his rookie season's best. 

Kobe won't be forgetting this game.

Lin brushed off skepticism that the Lakers would bring him down to earth and displayed the full range of his still developing game. Despite losing control of the basketball in the face of some stiff Laker defense (leading to six turnovers), Lin dominated the game from all over the court.

He hit 2-of-4 three-pointers, demonstrating efficiency and discipline that's rare among scorers with a good touch from range. Lin also mixed in a smooth mid-range game and an impressive ability to finish around the rim to show his full arsenal of offensive skills.

He looked at times like Steve Nash and at others like Tony Parker, using smart floor spacing and penetration to create opportunities for his teammates and himself alike.

Perhaps most impressively, Lin showed the heart and the hustle of a future star in this league. He came up with key loose balls on several occasions down the stretch and drew a charge in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter that helped close the door on Los Angeles.

Even though the Lakers haven't played like contenders yet this season, they were still the overwhelming favorites to dominate a short-handed Knicks team that featured the likes of Steve Novak, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries and Iman Shumpert. Of the Knicks highly-paid stars, only Tyson Chandler played against L.A.

The rag-tag lineup embarrassed the Lakers, but Lin was playing in a league of his own. The forgetful Bryant managed four fewer points despite taking six more shots. 

There will remain doubt over whether or not Lin can continue playing at his current pace. Very few onlookers expect to see the same kind of games as the season grinds on.

The second-year guard out of Harvard has become an unlikely hero for a star-studded Knicks team that has struggled under the leadership of its big names. 

The returns of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony will no doubt impact Lin's game. He could certainly benefit from having the veteran leadership on the court, and he'll have two of the league's best scorers catching his passes.

Unfortunately, he probably won't be getting many passes from them in return and will almost certainly find himself taking fewer shots.

The Knicks will also have to make a decision about who will get the majority of minutes at point guard when Baron Davis returns.

Davis may not be happy sitting for a team once desperate for a beating heart to play point guard. With Lin's development now hanging in the balance, D'Antoni faces a tough call.

If Lin keeps playing like this, though, there may not be a choice to be made. Baron Davis hasn't played that well in years.

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