- Last Updated: 2:48 AM, July 20, 2012
- Posted: 12:42 AM, July 20, 2012
As if to prove the Garden’s Jim Dolan/Cablevision Era is one of wonder and blunder — using $100 bills to light exploding cigars — Monday, with Jeremy Lin just about gone, Dolan’s MSG Network aired this year’s Leap Day Cavs-Knicks game from Dolan’s Garden.
On a strange date, Feb. 29, the Knicks were in a strange place: Still in their extended, unintended Lin-led fun-run.
But it seemed it would end with a pfft. The Cavs were up 16, late first half, and the Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire both returned from injury, had reverted to “put it in the hands of the stars, clear-out ball.”
In fact, Anthony and Stoudemire combined to miss their first six shots, five of them jump shots. But in the second half, Lin, as if defying the NBA’s caste system, played the way he had the previous 12 games, which included a win over the Lakers without Anthony and Stoudemire.
With Lin pushing the ball, always looking inside, always dropping the clear hint to teammates not to run at, then stop in front of defenders, but to make them chase you, the Knicks exhausted Cleveland, ran them goofy.
And the Knicks jump-shooter who most benefitted was Steve Novak, Lin having forced the Cavs to gamble on not guarding Novak in order to try to reclaim the inside because Lin had turned the game into a two- and three-pass layup seminar.
If you must know, Lin played 33:22, shot 6-for-12, scored 19, had 13 assists, five rebounds (two offensive) and one turnover.
But what counted most was that the Knicks won, 120-103. That night, abandoning star-status-basketball, they outscored Cleveland 86-53! And the Garden went nuts.
And so, perhaps, we could view MSG’s choice of programming, Monday, as something of a going away present.
By far, the most frustrating part of the debate attached to Lin’s departure is that paid basketball experts choose to weigh and measure Lin as a stand-alone, individual act, as if he’s a bowler, an archer. The big picture is lost on them.
Lin wasn’t, by himself, all that special. There are a lot of Lins. Or could be. But they’ve been deemed unacceptable in an NBA stuck in no-better-idea, no-braver-idea duplication.
But if we’re to view Lin’s game as a concept, as a better idea for a team game that has been hijacked by stat-headed stars, frightened coaches, signature-model sneaker companies, NBA TV and marketing strategists, then open your eyes! How could you miss it!
In the case of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who has been extended national and local NBA expert status — his initials could stand for Star Access Suck-up — he spent this week shouting and hollering faux-slick jive that, if believed, would’ve made one recall Lin as a feckless, fad, characterizing him as just “a marginal player.”Follow @NYPostsports