No. 5 – Linsanity is Born
Date: Feb. 4th, 2012 (New Jersey Nets @ Knicks)
It was multiple injuries and desperation for a win that led head coach Mike D’Antoni to play Jeremy Lin major minutes on Feb. 4 against the Nets. Lin did not disappoint from the jump.
He made an instant impact when he entered the game for the first time at the start of the second quarter. It took only about three minutes for Lin to get his first three assists. A Landry Fields pull-up jumper on the baseline got Lin his first assist. On the other end, Lin stole the ball and quickly found Toney Douglas for a fast break layup. Then, he gifted a bounce pass to Jared Jeffries in the pick and roll, leading to a slam.
The pick and roll was certainly Lin’s bread and butter. His first basket came on a runner following a screen by Tyson Chandler. Chandler and Fields were the two Knicks Lin leaned on the most on offense, as they were the recipients of several passes going to the rim.
In the second quarter alone, Lin recorded “six points, four assists, three rebounds, one steal, and just one turnover,” as Mike Breen summarized. It “became the Jeremy Lin show” as Lin “ignited the team and the crowd.” Poetically, those final words by Breen wound up being an excellent way to describe what Lin continued to do in this contest, and in several more to come.
Later on, Lin hit a pull-up two-point shot at the top of the key to break a tie, putting New York up 74-72. That shot also tied Lin’s career high for points (15). He continued to dominate on offense in the fourth quarter, which included an and-1 layup with 2:03 left to effectively seal the win.
Final statline: 25 points, 7.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.0 turnover