Can Jeremy Lin Save The Knicks?[VIDEO]
Teams are nearing the halfway point of the NBA schedule. Division leaders in both conferences are starting to separate from the pack, with veteran teams like Boston, San Antonio and Orlando all beginning to adapt to the compressed schedule. Here’s what’s going on in the NBA this week:
Bizarre Stat of the Week: Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks
Knicks’ reserve point guard Jeremy Lin had a career scoring average of 3.8 points per game heading into Saturday. The second-year player out of Harvard scored a career-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting in the Knicks’ 99-92 win over New Jersey on Saturday. The performance earned Lin his first career start against the Utah Jazz on Monday. He scored 28 points in New York’s 99-88 win in that game to set a career-high for the second consecutive contest. Maybe the point guard New York coach Mike D’Antoni needs was already on his roster.
Play of the Week: Jamaal Tinsley, Utah Jazz
Passes don’t get much prettier than this no-look assist from Jamaal Tinsley to Al Jefferson that occurred in Utah’s 119-101 loss to Golden State on Thursday. Click the play button to see it:
Team on the Rise: Boston Celtics
Winners of eight of their last 10 games and four in-a-row, the Boston Celtics (13-10) have moved up to second place in the Atlantic Division after a difficult early season. Coach Doc Rivers’ team used an intense defensive effort to fuel its latest run. The Celtics have allowed opponents to score 90 points just twice since Jan. 17, including a 91-89 comeback win over the Knicks on Friday. The return of point guard Rajon Rondo from injury has helped the team. He’s averaged 10.5 assists, five rebounds and six points per contest in his two games back.
Team on the Decline: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks (14-11) have lost consecutive games to Oklahoma City, Indiana and Cleveland. The defending NBA champs have missed injured point guard Jason Kidd, who is out with a right calf injury. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle used Rodrigue Beaubois to spell Kidd, but Carlisle has since switched to Delonte West after Beaubois was ineffective. Dallas is likely to lean on Dirk Nowitzki to help the team break out of its current funk.
Player on the Rise: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Scoring 23.1 points and grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game, LaMarcus Aldridge is among the most underrated players in the NBA. Aldridge has been a key figure in helping Portland (14-10) stay within range of Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division. The power forward had 29 points in the Blazers’ 117-97 victory over Denver on Saturday. It was his fifth straight game of 20 points or more. Aldridge should be named to the Western Conference All-Star team reserves later this week.
Player on the Decline: Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards
Rashard Lewis scored just two points in 22 minutes in a 107-81 Wizards’ loss to the Clippers on Saturday and just eight points in a 106-89 defeat at Toronto on Friday. Though his career scoring average is 16.2 points per game, Lewis has averaged just 8.5 points per game this season. His veteran presence should be helping the team, instead he’s among the reasons Washington (5-20) has one of the worst records in the league.