At the end of the first half of a big Friday night game between the Jeremy Lin-led Knicks and the Hornets, New Orleans, one of the worst teams in the league, is pummeling arguably one of the most talented rosters in the NBA in the Knicks, leading them 43-39 in a low-scoring affair.
The Knicks have been on a seven-game winning streak since Jeremy Lin has been featured on the team. He is 6-0 as a starter, averaging about 21 points about 9 assists, but in this game, Lin has 10 points and 8 crucial turnovers.
While the Knicks have an even 15-15 record, the Hornets were not expected to lead in this game. Compared to the excitement surrounding Lin and the franchise, the New Orleans Hornets have struggled mightily since losing their star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers this fall. The Hornets are 6-23 overall, and they rank among the worst in the league in points scored, rebounds, and assists. They are, however, ranked ninth overall in defense.
Lin has given the Knicks a big lift over the last seven games. He has scored more points in his first six games than any other player in history, and he has helped his Knicks by constantly making the right plays, giving his lesser-known teammates like Steve Novak plenty of fame too. He can score, he can dish, and he can dunk. However, he has been plagued by assists, making five in the first quarter and eight in the first half.
The New York Knicks look uncomfortable in their own skin Friday night, but they have all season. The roster has seen many changes in the last year, with the addition of super stars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, draft picks like Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields, and free agents like Baron Davis and as of today, J.R. Smith.
The Knicks signed a deal with J.R. Smith Friday, who has been just returned back into the U.S. from playing basketball in China, to reunite with his old Denver teammate in Carmelo Anthony. Smith can shoot the ball and run the floor, he's a great outside shooter, and he puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense. He will only add points potential to the already talented line-up of the Knicks; only problem is, Smith can just as easily shoot his team into a game as he can shoot them out of it. Smith isn't necessarily known for his assists.
In the game, the Hornets let the Knicks have plenty of opportunities, but missed field goals and turnovers plagued New York's energetic squad. It was a depressing first quarter: By the end of it, Jeremy Lin had just two points on three attempts, one rebound, one assist, but five turnovers. New Orleans led the Knicks 27-13.
That changed a bit in the second quarter. Lin began the quarter strongly with a driving lefty layup over the New Orleans big men. Amar'e Stoudemire, who has been flat since returning from his injury this week, also started to get his jumper game going, bringing the Knicks to within 10. Lin kept his eyes on the floor, reducing his turnovers, getting to the hoop and the foul line, and finding his teammates, particularly Stoudemire.
With roughly two and a half minutes to go in the half, the Knicks caught up and only trailed the Hornets by four, 39-35.
After the timeout, Lin threw an incredible alley-oop lob to Fields, bringing the game to within two. The crowd went wild, and Lin was fired up.
But at the end of the first half, the Hornets had four threes, while the Knicks had none. With no threes and trouble executing at the foul line, it was somewhat of a miracle that the Knicks only trailed by four at the half, scoring only 39 points.
There were many celebrities in attendance, including ex-Beatles frontman Paul McCartney, CNN's Piers Morgan, actor Liev Schreiber, ex-Knick Anthony Mason, NFL Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice, actress Edie Flaco, and of course, director and perennial Knicks fanboy Spike Lee.