Lin gives boost to Knicks, D’Antoni’s job security

Just two weeks ago, the New York Knicks had lost nine of their last 10 games and fans were calling for the firing of head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Today the Knicks have won five straight games behind unheralded rookie guard Jeremy Lin, and New Yorkers are suffering from what can best be described as “Lin-sanity.”

The Harvard grad did it again Saturday night, hitting the game-winning free throw with 4 seconds remaining to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lin has averaged 22 points per game since getting the start.

Lin’s unlikely rise to stardom comes after he was released by two other NBA teams. With D’Antoni struggling for answers to his team’s offensive woes, he turned to the journeyman out of desperation to find a spark at point guard, and instead got an explosion.

“He’s so good,” D’Antoni told reporters after Lin’s 38-point performance Friday against the L.A. Lakers and star Kobe Bryant. “He’s all about the team. His defense is good. His energy is good. His personality rubs off on everybody.”

In his first five starts, Lin has scored 109 points, more than any other NBA player over the same span – including Shaquille O’Neal (101) and Michael Jordan (99). More impotantly, his play has the Knicks back in the playoff picture.

The Lin-fusion of excitement couldn’t come at a better time for D’Antoni, the brother of former Socastee coach Dan D’Antoni, who serves as a Knicks assistant. Both could be out of a job had the turnaround not come when it did, an event D’Antoni attributes to karma.

“But stuff like this, good people, and you play the game the right way and you play hard, you start to feel something in your heart,” he said. “When you do that, anything is possible.”

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