The special news conferences, front-page coverage and general lionizing of New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin is something that Mike D’Antoni might have to get used to.
Lin was at it again Tuesday night at a rollicking Air Canada Centre, saving his best for last with a game-winning three point shot with .05 seconds left in the game that lifted the Knicks to an 90-87 victory over the Raptors.
“I’m just glad it went like this so we can calm the insanity down a little bit,” D’Antoni joked after this one was all said and done.
The 23-year-old point guard has been the talk of the National Basketball Association town the last 10 days because of his sudden jump into the public eye with a starting role in New York.
With the way things are going it doesn’t appear the hype will die down any time soon.
“It’s pretty amazing what he’s doing,” Knicks forward Amaré Stoudamire said. “I can’t really explain it. He’s doing a phenomenal job out there on the basketball court.
“He reminds me a lot of Steve [Nash]and how Steve plays.”
On the winning shot, Lin was dribbling the basketball patiently near the top of the key in front of Raptor defender Jose Calderon, sizing up the situation and oblivious to the din from the capacity gathering of 20,092 who were on their feet in rapt anticipation.
It was either drive or shoot, and Lin choose the latter.
“He was trying to push me left and he was giving me a little bit of space,” Lin said. “I just tried to take it down as low as I could.
“I figured it’s probably not going to be possible to get to the basket with the help that they had.”
Lin finished the night with 27 points and a career-high 11 assists. He has now scored 20-plus points in six consecutive games.
While congratulating Lin on a great shot to win the game, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was otherwise upset with the overall performance of his team, which committed 19 turnovers in the game.
Toronto held a 17-point lead in the second quarter but the Knicks were able to come back, outscoring Toronto 24-12 over the course of the fourth quarter.
“It should not have come to that play,” Casey said. “We had so many bonehead plays to get to that play and to make that play relevant. We should have taken care of business before that.”