Knicks-Wizards Preview

Thanks to tremendous back-to-back efforts, relatively unknown

Jeremy Lin has come out of nowhere to make quite a name for himself

around the NBA.

With Carmelo Anthony sidelined due to injury and the unfortunate

circumstances surrounding Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks

are counting on Lin to lead the way for the time being.

Looking to post three straight victories for the first time in

almost a month, visiting New York tries to extend its winning

streak over the Washington Wizards to eight Wednesday night.

After seeing limited minutes in nine of the first 23 games, Lin

made the most of his first significant opportunity – scoring what

was then a career-high 25 points in leading New York (10-15) to

Saturday’s 99-92 win over New Jersey.

“I was afraid to do anything, we’re already in a little bit of a

crisis and I just can’t be, you know, pulling straws, just trying

something, a whim,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“Other players would be looking at me like ‘You crazy?’ if it

didn’t work. Now he just kept showing stuff a little bit, a little

bit. When he got one opportunity, he took advantage of it.”

The Harvard product came out with an even more impressive

performance in his first career start, recording 28 points and

eight assists during Monday’s 99-88 win over Utah.

“The excitement he has caused in the Garden, man, I hadn’t seen

that in a long time,” Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said. “The way he

can penetrate, and can get in that lane, and either shoot it or

dish it, has really made them a better basketball team.

“When you get a spark a like this, especially in a season like

this, this could carry them for a long time because they needed

something to happen positive.”

While the hype surrounding Lin – the first American-born NBA

player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent – continues to grow, keeping

things going could prove difficult without Anthony and


Leading New York with 22.3 points per game, Anthony suffered a

strained right groin versus the Jazz and is expected to sit out for

at least a week. Stoudemire will miss at least a second straight

game as he continues to mourn the death of his brother.

The Knicks have taken 11 of 13 meetings with the Wizards (5-20),

including seven in a row by an average of 10.5 points. New York won

99-96 in the nation’s capital Jan. 6 behind 37 points from Anthony

and 23 from Stoudemire.

Washington also carries a bit of momentum into this matchup

after snapping a four-game skid with Monday’s 111-108 overtime win

over Toronto. The Wizards blew an 18-point lead with 3:02 to play

in the third quarter but regrouped in OT, holding the Raptors to

three points.

“I’m not disappointed – not for this team,” coach Randy Wittman

said. “If this is another team, and we’re 20-5, we should be. We’re

taking steps here. I’m not disappointed. I can’t be disappointed.

We got a win. This team needed a win – both mentally and


“These young kids have to learn to play in the fourth quarter

when it becomes hectic.”

In addition to a combined 60 points from John Wall and Nick

Young, power forward Trevor Booker also came up big, scoring a

season-high 19 while adding three blocks and three steals.

Averaging 85.8 points during a four-game road skid, New York

hasn’t won three in a row since a season-best four-game run Jan.


Washington last won back-to-back games April 9-11.