Cavaliers-Knicks Preview

Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom continues to captivate. Lin thinks
the rest of the resurgent New York Knicks deserve some
attention.

Lin and the Knicks emerge from the All-Star break Wednesday
night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lin has quickly become perhaps the biggest story of the NBA
season, emerging from obscurity to spark the Knicks as their new
point guard. He’s averaged 22.6 points and 8.7 assists during a 9-3
run that has New York (17-18) looking more like the playoff team it
expected to be at the start of the season.

The Knicks are tied with Boston for seventh in the East, and
trail Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia by four games.

Lin, a reserve for Golden State last season who was cut twice in
December before landing in New York, thinks there’s much more to
the Knicks’ turnaround.

“I mean, we’re unbelievably talented and you look on the
headlines, you look on ESPN, you see ‘Lin this’ and ‘Lin that,'” he
said. “But we may be the deepest team in the NBA, so I think we
should start talking about that as well.”

Even with that depth, New York could use more production from
its stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Anthony is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 38.3 percent in
three games after missing seven with a groin injury, while
Stoudemire’s 17.5 points per game represent a 7.8 drop from last
season.

While Anthony scored 19 points for the Eastern Conference in
Sunday’s All-Star game, Stoudemire was resting and believes he’s
primed for a strong second half.

“It’s going to be great. Every second half of the year, I have a
tendency to turn it up because you know how important it is,”
Stoudemire said. “After the All-Star break, getting that momentum
going to the postseason is always very, very key. You’re playing at
your best going into the postseason, so it’s going to be an
incredible second half of the year for me.”

New York will try to bounce back after losing its final game
before the break, 102-88 at conference-leading Miami on Thursday as
Lin managed eight points and three assists while turning the ball
over eight times.

“He’ll have a learning curve and there will be nights where he
won’t look good, but I think he’s a very good player and we’re
going to ride him and he’ll just keep getting better,” coach Mike
D’Antoni said.

The Knicks have dropped 12 of their last 13 meetings with the
Cavaliers (13-19), including a 91-81 defeat at Cleveland on Jan.
25, a game in which Lin didn’t get off the bench. Stoudemire had 19
points and 14 rebounds, while Anthony finished with 15 points.

The Cavaliers finished 4-5 on their season-high nine-game
homestand, which concluded Tuesday with an 86-83 loss to the
Celtics. They avoided a scare when Kyrie Irving returned from a
bruised elbow that sidelined him late in the second quarter.

“I just hit my elbow on the floor,” said Irving, who scored 19
of his 24 points in the second half. “Once I got back (to the
locker room) I felt much better. There was nothing funny about it
(hitting his funny bone). It was my first almost-injury in the
NBA.”

Irving, the first overall selection from last summer’s NBA
draft, scored just seven while making 1 of 7 from the field against
the Knicks last month.