When the season began, the Knicks were expected by many to contend at a higher level, potentially chasing a championship.
The problem with that expectation is that it may prove difficult for a team (especially any coached by Mike D'Antoni) to chase a title with no true efficient point guard on the roster.
The Knicks have tried desperately to find their floor general, with Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert sharing the most minutes. Douglas, to the dismay of fans everywhere, struggled mightily as a starter, and the jury is still out on whether point guard will be Shumpert's ideal NBA position.
Mike Bibby has also failed to play with any heavy level of consistency, and the bad back of Baron Davis has left the Knicks living on the prayer that he returns soon all season long.
Following heartbreaking losses to Bulls and Celtics, it was clear the reeling Knicks sorely needed a pick-me-up victory. Who knew that Coach D'Antoni was going to have to look all the way down his bench to finally help secure one?
On the third night of the Knicks' only back to back to back set of games this season, the coach called for a player that has been buried deep on the bench all season long: Jeremy Lin.
Though Carmelo Anthony (who shot 3 for 15) has been looking to build up some momentum as he tries to fight off his lingering injuries, the man who has often carried the Knicks this season was clearly fatigued against the Nets. The spark needed to come from elsewhere.
Although Amar'e Stoudemire continued his string of strong outings, tallying 17 points, it was Lin who ignited the Garden crowd and propelled the Knicks to a 99-92 victory.
The Harvard grad had a career night of all sorts, pouring in 25 points, dishing out 7 assists, grabbing 5 rebounds, while also coming up with 2 steals. More important than the numbers, however, was what exactly Lin did on the court. He penetrated to the hoop again and again, drawing fouls and finding his teammates inside for easy buckets. Lin's play elevated the production of Tyson Chandler, among others, as the Knicks' big man powered home 17 points of his own.
With each and every basket, and/or alley-oop pass, the Garden crowd rose to their feet in pure excitement, as well as astonishment, for the unlikely sung hero. Lin proved to be exactly what the Knicks have needed.
As MSG Network analyst Alan Hahn tweeted following the win, Lin's big night wasn't so much about his own individual production as it was how greatly he elevated the Knicks. With a skillful point guard on the floor, the team's offense is organized, intelligent, and the members of the team play together, remaining in sync throughout.
While it's be too early to recognize Lin as "The Chosen One" just yet, it is clear that with no one else having stepped up to date, the Knicks need to give him the opportunity to really show what he can do and how he can help the team. Thus, look for Lin to start at point guard tomorrow at home vs. the Utah Jazz. Not only is this the right move, but it should be the only move of action at this point. The Knicks need victories and Lin began to prove what almost everyone else already knew: an efficient floor general will help produce them.