Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. — If you bought a ticket for Wednesday’s Knicks-Wizards game expecting to see superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, you appear to be out of luck.
The Knicks announced Tuesday that Anthony is out 1-2 weeks with a strained right groin sustained in the first quarter of Monday’s 99-88 win over the Utah Jazz at MSG.
Stoudemire is on an indefinite leave from the team following the death of his old brother, Hazell, Monday in a car crash in Florida. The team had no update on his status Tuesday. Following Wednesday’s game, the Knicks host Kobe Bryant and the Lakers Friday.
“At this point I just really want him to take as much time as he needs,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said of Stoudemire. “Basketball is one thing, life and family is completely another thing. I hope the best out of his situation with his family. It’s a tough one.”
The Knicks may not have Stoudemire or Anthony, but they do have Linsanity, as in rookie savior Jeremy Lin.
“Well, you can’t really replace them,” Lin said. “But we’re going to have to have people step up and it has to be everybody. It’s not going to be one person scoring 20 points. It’s going to be 2 points here, 2 points there. Everyone is going to have to do a little extra because we don’t have that star power.”
Lin may be the biggest star the Knicks have right now.
He was serenaded with chants of “MVP” during his 28-point, 8-assist outing Monday that followed his 25-point, 5-assist show in Saturday’s win over the Nets.
He said his phone was blowing up with calls from family, friends, former coaches, including Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, and even former teammates form the Golden State Warriors.
Lin was waived by both the Warriors and Houston Rockets in December.
“I talked to all my coaches and most of my teammates in the last three or four days,” Lin said. “It’s just great to hear from everybody, even guys from the Warriors. Being able to talk to my teammates from last year is special.”
Without Anthony and Stoudemire Monday, the Knicks offense looked crisp and fluid, with both Jared Jeffries (13 points) and Steve Novak (19) enjoying season-highs as a result of Lin playing 45 minutes.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said Bill Walker and Iman Shumpert would pick up most of Anthony’s playing time, with Jeffries, Chandler and even rookie big man Jerome Jordan logging minutes in the frontcourt.
“We have enough versatile guys that we can try to mask it a little bit,” D’Antoni said.
Those versatile guys all seemed comfortable playing with Lin, who said after Monday’s game that he would’ve considered going overseas if he the Knicks had ended up waiving him.
“He’s doing a really good job of just reading the defense and learning,” Chandler said. “Even when he makes a mistake out there and he sees that he may have missed me, he comes right over and says, ‘I saw it. I’ll get it on the next time,’ and that’s the sign of a good point guard.”
Lin doesn’t want to get complacent, either
“Every time we get complacent that’s when trouble comes,” Lin said. “I’m trying to stay ready. The coverages are going to change. There are going to be different reads I’m going to have to make. I’m trying to prepare as best I can.”
Even though the Wizards have one of the NBA’s worst records, they have perhaps the league’s quickest point guard in former Kentucky star John Wall.
“He’s probably the fastest guard in the league so I’m going to have more than my hands full,” Lin said.
On a personal level, he hasn’t even bought a home in the New York area yet because his contract isn’t guaranteed until after Friday.
“After the deadline,” Lin said, “I’ll look for a place.”
D’Antoni said Josh Harrellson (fractured right wrist) still had about “three-and-a-half” weeks of recovery time, which would put him back after the All-Star Game Feb. 26.
Photo: Getty Images
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.