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.
By JOSH NEWMANSpecial to ZAGSBLOGNEW YORK – Knicks fans want results and they want them yesterday. This is no secret, it’s been this way from the beginning of the franchise’s existence nearly 70 years ago at this point.
So with Linsanity still running amok at Madison Square Garden, in comes free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith on Sunday, followed by Carmelo Anthony (pulled groin) and Baron Davis (herniated disk) back from injuries on Monday. Along with Landry Fields, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, this is what the core of the Knicks will be like going forward, in addition to bench minutes from Steve Novak, Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson. This is the team and with that, fans want to see what all these pieces look like on the floor together.
For now, all those pieces and virtually no practice time together didn’t add up well as the Knicks fell, 100-92 to the Nets, who got a game-high 38 points from Deron Williams, on Monday evening at Madison Square Garden.
The one thing everyone wanted to see is how Anthony would mesh with Lin, who has shown himself to be a playmaker and has been given the responsibility of leading this team. Anthony, meanwhile, is something of a point-forward who dominates the ball and shoots it more than most.
“We can both make plays, I think we need to find a good balance,” Lin said after scoring a team-high 21 points on a team-high 18 shots. “It is a little tough with no practice time and then throw in J.R. Smith, throw in Baron Davis, so like coach said there’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment time….It is Day One.”
Early in the game, it looked as if things would fall into place nicely. Anthony set a high-screen for Lin in the first quarter, Anthony rolled, took a Lin pass and canned a 15-foot jumper. Unfortunately, that was the only semblance of cohesion between Lin and Anthony.
Anthony, who was back from a seven-game absence thanks to a groin injury, deferred to Lin a lot and maybe too much. He only took 11 shots, not nearly enough for one of the best finishers in the game, and was looking to get his teammates involved almost to a fault.
There is no reason to hit the panic button, not yet anyway. As Lin was quick to point out, this is Day One and there was no practice involved. If these problems with chemistry and pieces not fitting are still going on a month from now, then it might be time for panic to set in.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen next game. Until we’re in that situation again, I can’t tell you what’s gonna happen,” Anthony said. “I want Jeremy to have the ball. Hands down, I want him to have the ball and I want him to create for me, for Amar’e, for everybody and still be aggressive as he’s been the past two weeks.”
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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.