Hornets-Knicks Preview

While the incredible emergence of New York’s Jeremy Lin has

taken the country by storm, many are wondering how this overnight

success story will coexist with Carmelo Anthony upon his

return.

That question may not be answered just yet.

Lin and Anthony had been hoping to be in the starting lineup

together as the host Knicks go for an eighth straight win Friday

night against the lowly New Orleans Hornets, but Anthony is

considered doubtful due to his strained right groin.

Lin’s story has been well documented since he came off the bench

to score a game-high 25 points in a 99-92 win over New Jersey on

Feb. 4. Unheard of by most of the nation prior to that performance,

the former Harvard star has guided the Knicks (15-15) to seven

straight victories and into eighth place in the Eastern

Conference.

While Lin has become a household name and New York is relevant

again in the basketball world, there is some concern about how

Anthony will fit in with a team that has suddenly developed

chemistry in his absence.

Anthony was in the starting lineup for Lin’s first start Feb. 6

against Utah, but left because of his injury after playing less

than six minutes and hasn’t suited up since. There’s still a chance

he’ll face New Orleans, but he may be more likely to return Sunday

against Dallas.

Before the rise of Linsanity, New York’s offense went through

Anthony, and he didn’t hesitate to fire up shots. The five-time

All-Star is fourth in the NBA in field-goal attempts per game at

18.8 but is shooting 39.9 percent, the sixth-worst mark in the

league among qualifying players.

Lin became the team’s primary scorer in Anthony’s absence,

averaging 27.2 points and 19.6 shots in his first five starts, but

proved Wednesday he doesn’t need to score for New York to be

successful.

After totaling 136 points in his first five starts – the most by

any player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976 – Lin finished

with 10 points and a career-best 13 assists in an easy 100-85 win

over Sacramento. He sat out the fourth quarter after playing just

26 minutes – 10 fewer than in any other game since joining the

rotation.

“As a point guard, my field-goal attempts have been really high

and I don’t think that’s necessarily good,” Lin said. “I think it’s

more of my job to distribute and get people in rhythm.”

Landry Fields had team highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds for

the Knicks, who put seven players in double figures in scoring for

the first time since April 5, 2009, at Toronto. Amare Stoudemire

had 11 points in 27 minutes after finishing with 21 and nine

rebounds in Tuesday’s 90-87 win at Toronto, his first game back

after sitting out four following the death of his brother.

Stoudemire combined for 58 points on 61.0 percent shooting in

two games – both Knicks wins – against the Hornets last season.

Anthony aided the second one with 22 points after arriving from

Denver.

New Orleans (6-23) arrives in New York having won back-to-back

games after winning just two of its previous 25. The Hornets

defeated Milwaukee 92-89 on Wednesday despite dressing only 10

players and being without several key contributors.

Marco Belinelli made a career-high six 3-pointers and had a

season-high 22 points for New Orleans, which is again expected to

be without Emeka Okafor, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry and Eric Gordon

– all sidelined with knee problems.

“We’re a fighting team,” coach Monty Williams said. “We have a

little bit of grit about us. It’s too bad you don’t have a stat for

heart and intensity because we’d be at the top of the league.”

The Hornets have lost six straight games to the Knicks since a

118-110 victory April 4, 2008.