Lin-sanity sweeps the nation as Los Angeles turns into Lob City

Photo courtesy of www.nba.com

Eitan Rothman, Sports Editor

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, New York Knick sensation Jeremy Lin dribbled up the court with the game tied at 87. Lin drove down the court and pulled up with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to drain a game-winning three-pointer, extending the Knicks’ winning streak to six games.

Lin-sanity is sweeping the nation, and turned the previously unknown point guard into the center of attention All-Star Weekend Feb 24-26 by giving the Knicks life while their stars, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, were injured.

“Everywhere Lin went, the crowds followed,” reported Frank Isola for the New York Daily News. “From the hotel to the arena to an autograph signing at a local mall, Lin was the must-see face of All-Star Weekend and the player everyone was talking about.”

Lin was signed undrafted out of Harvard in 2010 to the Golden State Warriors after he wasn’t drafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. At the end of last season, the Warriors released him and he was picked up by the Knicks for $800,000.

Due to a poor front-office decision to put Chauncey Billups on amnesty and the injury of Baron Davis, the Knicks were left without a consistent point guard. On Feb. 4 Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 25 points and dish 7 assists.

Lin was put into the starting lineup Feb. 6 and has remained there ever since, shocking the world by breaking the NBA record for most points scored in a player’s first five starts of their career with 136, beating Dan Issel who had 129 points in 1970.

“It’s a fairy tale,” Phoenix Suns point-guard Steve Nash told the New York Daily News. “His story is a great story. It’s phenomenal because he’s in the media capital of the world and he basically erupted on a Knicks team that was desperate. (You) have a desperate fan base, a desperate team and the most unlikely of saviors. And he handles it well. He’s a great kid. He’s very even keel and he’s intelligent. It’s a very interesting mix.”

Phenomenal as well is the third place that the Clippers hold in the Western Conference. The team has transformed immensely from a joke of a basketball team to a legitimate contender in the Western Conference playoffs, two spots ahead of the Lakers who are in fifth.

The Clipper offense is spearheaded by All-Stars Chris Paul, a veteran point guard drafted in 2005 by the New Orleans Hornets, and Blake Griffin ,who is in his second year in the league.

“They finally have the key ingredients to how this league has been marketed … and that’s star power,” Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon to the LA Times. “They were desperate for those guys, and having two of them [Paul and Griffin], they couldn’t ask for a better scenario.”

All the ingredients are there and now all the Clippers need is a little bit of luck and some tight defensive games to prepare them for the playoffs.
Many think that the Clippers’ fast-breaking, high flying offense won’t work in the playoffs, but a close victory over the Portland Trailblazers Feb.16 proved these skeptics wrong. After a slow start to the game, the Clippers lit up in the fourth quarter and came back to win the game, 74-71.

“This was sort of like a playoff-type of game,” Paul told the LA Times after the game at in Oregon. “Good teams have to win games like this.”
With the second half of the season still to play we can expect to see more development in the Clippers’ game.
And who knows? We might even see them and Jeremy Lin face off in the finals.