All He Does is Lin

Linning, Linsanity, Lincredible, All he does is Lin, Linning Streak, Linfamous, BalLin these are all adjectives used to describe New York Knicks point guard the Asian Sensation Jeremy Lin. Lin has became the new Tim Tebow. The popularity of Lin has grown so fast that he has transformed from the nerdy girl to the popular hott cheerleader. There are some players that are naturally more gifted, more athletic, and just flat out better athletes, but like Tebow, Lin has risen to the occasion and has taken full advantage of maybe his last chance at success. Tebow and Lin are not the best athletes but there is one thing I know for sure is they both know how to win. They may not be the most talented but their hardwork, determination, and will have helped them to win and succeed in the highest level of professional competition. The great thing about Lin as well as Tebow is that they both are humble men and they give credit to their Lord Jesus as well as their teammates and coaches. Give honor to whom honor is due, and that’s exactly what Tebow and Lin express with their play and conduct on and off the field.

After Lin torched by beloved Lakers for 38 points on 10-13 shooting I knew this kid became the real deal. Jeremy is BalLin, in the last 5 games he has averaged 26.8ppg, 8 apg, 4.2rpg, and 2 steals per game. The Asian sensation is on a winning Streak and can’t be stopped. Lin has led the Knicks to a 5 game Linning streak in his first 5 starts of his career as point guard for the New York Knicks. On the biggest stage NY and playing in MSG (Madison Square Garden) Lin has played some of the best basketball of any player this year. To overshadow Kobe Bryant in MSG is Lincredulous that just does NOT happen. Kobe had a great night by all means scoring 34 points and 10 rebounds getting a double-double, but some how Lin blew up to score 38 points and lead his team to a victory in MSG where the Lakers have owned them going 9-0 for the last 5 years. For Jeremy Lin’s first 5 games as a starter he scored 25 against the Nets, 28 vs. the Jazz, 23 and 10 reb against Washington, 38 against the Lakers, and 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the absence of Carmelo Anthony (injured groin) and Amare Stoudemire (death of brother) Lin has done the Greg Jennings and put the team on his back doh! Lin has found the right system with Mike D’Antoni, run and gun, pick and roll offense and he has ran with his new opportunity to shine on one of the biggest stages in sports.

Lin has literally blown up the Twitter world as well with his name Trending throughout the day, he has became an overnight sensation, and he now gives hope to all of those Asian kids playing basketball through out the world.  Jeremy Lin’s roots start out as a college player at Harvard University. I know what you’re thinking. Harvard? Yes Harvard. Lin was not recruited heavily out of high school and the only schools that showed interest in him were Harvard and Brown University. Lin chose to attend Harvard without an athletic scholarship and merely as a regular student who also played basketball almost like a walk-on. Most college coaches overlooked Lin and said that he could not play basketball well at a higher level. Former Cornell head coach now at Boston College, Phil Donahue assessed the play of Lin by saying, “But he didn’t look that athletic, and he didn’t shoot it all that well. Even after his freshman year at Harvard, you didn’t give it a second thought that we made a mistake.” The fact is that every major college overlooked Lin. The same thing happened to Lin in the NBA draft. Honestly nobody in their right minds examines the draft board and takes a second look at an Ivy League player from Harvard, especially an Asian point guard. So like his college recruitment no NBA teams thought Lin was worth drafting. In the 2010 NBA draft Jeremy Lin did not hear his name called from the 60 other names.

However Lin was able to get invited to the NBA summer league where he posted decent enough numbers (9.8 pts, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg) to capture a contract from the Golden State Warriors. With the Warriors he played in 29 games (no starts) and averaged 2.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, and 1.4 apg. The Warriors eventually cut Lin after his unimpressive resume at Golden State. The Houston Rockets were up next as they offered Jeremy Lin a contract. The Rockets claimed Lin off waivers and assigned him to their D-league (minors) where he was cut once again to clear room for the signing of 7 foot Center Samuel Dalembert. On December 27th 2011, Lin’s future started to change; he was picked up by the New York Knicks off waivers. If you told me this same Lin would become a starter and average over 26 points per game with the Knicks in 5 starts and score 38 points against the Lakers I would say there is no way in Hell! Hell would literally have to freeze over for this kid to start let alone post 26+ ppg. That is exactly what happened, Hell froze and Linsanity took over. It is Linsane how fast Lin has grown in popularity but it is more Lincredible how fast he has acclimated himself to the pro game in such a short time. His play during his last 5 starts has been nothing short of a Tim Tebow 4th quarter miracle win. For a guy that was not recruited and also undrafted to have this kind of success especially in the NBA is almost unheard of let alone nearly impossible for the fact he is of the Asian decent. We have never seen an Asian point guard play in the NBA let alone score big points and lead his team to consecutive victories. In Lin’s first 4 starts he has scored 109 points which is the most of any player surpassing that of Allen Iverson, Shaq, and Michael Jordan.

Lin’s upside and potential is great, and I do think he can flat out ball, he has the shot and the quickness as well as the decision making to be a great point guard in this league. The fact is that he has only played 5 games and all without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Do I think his numbers will increase when both Melo and Amare get back? Absolutely. How could they not? Amare and Melo are both superstars who demand the ball to be in their hands. Melo needs to dominate the ball by bringing it up and driving to the hoop. Melo creates his own shots, and Amare needs his touches as well. The concern is more for how will Melo and Lin play together. No question that Lin can run the pick and roll with Amare all day or feed the big man down low like the glory days of D’Antoni’ Suns with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. But the fact is Carmelo demands the ball in his hands and he is not the player to have a shot created for him. Carmelo will not come off of down screens and catch and shoot. That is not who he is. Instead Melo is a point forward similar to Lebron and he loves to dribble drive and penetrate to the hoop. So how can a scoring yet unselfish point guard like Lin and Carmelo exist? Virtually they cannot. The only solution would be for Melo not to bring up the ball and not have as many touches in the game. For Melo and Lin and the Knicks to be effective, Melo needs to learn to play without the ball and post up as well as roll off back screens created for him like Ray Allen does in Boston. I think Melo and Lin will be most effective if Melo can learn the post up like Kobe Bryant did a few years back and score on smaller defenders without bringing the ball up in the front court. Melo can utilize that turn around jumper with his post game or take it strong to the rack. That is the only way that Melo and Lin can survive together. Then again you forget about Amare Stoudemire. Amare needs the ball in the post as well. So it is inevitable that Lin’s numbers especially points will drop down. I think that when the big 3 (Amare, Lin, and Melo) and Chandler are all on the court at the same time that Lin will increase in assists but his points will take a severe hit. Forecasting Lin to be averaging 12ppg with 9apg and 5rp. Still good numbers but a significant decrease from his 26 ppg right now.

Lin is very fortunate and he reiterates the fact in his interviews as he thanks God for his new found opportunity with the Knicks. J-Lin has found the perfect system with D’Antoni that fits him exactly. The pick and roll offense along with the run and gun nature high tempo is exactly the type of offense that has helped Jeremy succeed. If Lin was in a different system lets say the half-court set he might not have the same results that he has now. It truly has been Linsanity the way he has played these last 5 games but when you hear people say that he is better than Kobe you must tell them to pump their breaks. Kobe Bryant is an all-time great, 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 2x Scoring Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 1 regular season MVP; and Jeremy Lin essentially has only had 5 career starts but put up some impressive numbers. Jeremy Lin’s career is so short you cannot compare him really to anybody. Yes he is really good, but no, he is not anything near the level of greatness of Kobe Bryant. To say that Jeremy Lin upstaged Kobe is ridiculous. He scored more than Kobe at MSG which nobody does, but it is also 1 game and in that same game Kobe had no help from Bynum and his bench was non-existent yet Kobe still scored 34 points and 10 boards. So please no more comparisons between Lin and Kobe or Lin and any other player. Let Lin be Lin. Lin is a unique talent to the NBA and he is something the NBA has never seen before. He is an Asian American point guard leading the Knicks in scoring and wins.

Will the Linning Streak continue? Will Linsanity remain? I think so, but when Melo and Amare come back Lin’s points will drop quite a bit but his well rounded game will stay in tact. The good thing about Lin is that he is unselfish and does not need to score unlike his teammates Carmelo and Amare. Lin will be a true point guard and as he will facilitate to Melo and his bigs (Amare & Chandler). All I can say so far is that what Jeremy has done in his first 5 starts is truly Linsanity!

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Does 1 player make a difference?

During these 2012 NFL playoffs and Superbowl we have seen the impact 1 player has had on the outcome of football games. Kyle Williams. Billy Cundiff. Wes Welker. But the question remains, does 1 player or even 1 play determine the outcome of a football game better yet sporting event. Whether it be a clutch game-winning 3 pointer in the 4thquarter of a basketball game, or a missed field goal, does the entire game rest on the shoulders of 1 play? One play can literally swing all the momentum from one side to another. But isn’t the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB a team game. We always hear athletes say that “we win as a team and we lose as a team.” Is this always the case?

Kyle Williams, WR, Kick/Punt Returner for the San Francisco 49ers is a prime example of 1 player determining the outcome of the game for his team in a negative way. Kyle Williams had 2 lost fumbles in the NFC divisional game vs. the Giants which gave New York 10 free points. The first of Williams miscues came in the fourth quarter when the 49ers were up 14-10. San Francisco made a defensive stop and forced the Giants to punt on 4th and 15 on the NY Giants own 15 yard line. Kyle Williams unsure of picking up the bouncing football was stuck in no man’s land and caught in a pickle of deciding whether to pick up the ball or get out of the way. After further review of instant replay it was confirmed that the ball bounced off the knee of Kyle Williams and recovered by the Giants. The Giants will a short field, on San Fran’s 29 yard line were able to punch in the score in 7 plays and take a 17-14 lead. Instead of driving and extending the lead to 21-10 or 17-10 the 49ers blew there lead and needed a field goal to send it to Overtime, which is exactly what happened. In Overtime the saga of Kyle Williams continued. As ESPN tweeted, “Kyle Williams and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Things just kept spiraling out of control for Mr. Kyle Williams. With another 4th and long, Kyle Williams attempted to return the punt from his 24 yard line when ran 5 yards and then was stripped by New York Giants Jaquin Williams and recovered by teammate Devin Thomas. The Giants inherited the ball on the 49ers 24 yard line and moved the ball to the 8 yard line, and then a false start penalty of 5 yards moved them to the 13 yard line setting up a Lawrence Tynes 31 yard game winning field goal. Tynes nailed it and the Giants won the game, and as we all witnessed went on to beat the Patriots in the Superbowl, in a thrilling 8th fourth quarter comeback for Eli Manning.

After that game 49ers fans showed there fury towards Kyle Williams as they flooded Twitter with the bashing of Williams and even death threats towards him. With that kind of reaction it is quite hard to argue that 1 player does not make a difference.

How about Billy Cundiff? Kicker for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were leading the Patriots going into the 4th quarter. The Patriots scored early in the 4th but left lots of time remaining. With 1:44 remaining, the Ravens stagnant for most of the quarter drove the ball down to the Patriots 14 yard line. The Baltimore Ravens sought to tie the game at 23 a piece and sent it into overtime. The field goal was from 32 yards out. A chip shot for Billy Cundiff. Cundiff sent up kicked it and it was no good, wide to the left. Ravens fans were in disbelief. The whole game came down to a simple kick, almost an extra point. But Cundiff shanked it, and the Patriots were headed to the Superbowl. Instead of being the hero Cundiff turned into a zero and his name is used as a curse word in the streets of Baltimore. What the Cundiff? Mother Cundiff! Freaking Cundiff!

Most recently and maybe the biggest play or non-play of the biggest game in sports happened in the Superbowl. The Patriots were driving in the 4th as they trailed the Giants 21-17 with less than 5 minutes left. Tom Brady dropped back when he saw a wide open Wes Welker in open field. He delivered the ball high to Wes Welker where Welker had to jump and catch the ball in midair. The pass would have been at least a 20 yard gain and put the Patriots into scoring position. Welker know as Brady’s most reliable receiver almost with perfect hands never drops a catch. However this time was different. As Welker leaped up and was coming down, he dropped the ball. Patriots’ fans, Brady, Wilfork, Bill Belichick, and Wes Welker were all in disbelief. The whole world could not believe their eyes. Tom Brady connected with his number 1 receiver and they couldn’t complete the pass! On the biggest stage of sports, Tom Brady and his sidekick failed. Welker’s drop was a monumental turning point in the game. The drop hurt the Patriots whose drive was stalled and eventually fell flat to the Giants in Superbowl XLVI.

So does 1 player actually matter? Yes I believe so. 1 play, 1 player can definitely determine the outcome of a game. One play can swing all the momentum and change the course of a playoff game even the Superbowl. At the same time I believe that football as well as baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc are TEAM sports. The team wins together and loses together. The culmination of all the plays previous to the last play determines the outcome of the game. If the team was sharper and made plays earlier in the game or even down the stretch, the importance of one play and one player wouldn’t matter as much. The point of team sports and team play is TEAM. You have to have teamwork to win and even to lose. Teamwork is a collective effort of individuals coming together to help the team win. So yes 1 player making the final catch, hitting the game-winning shot, missing the game-winning field goal, or losing a fumble twice may determine the outcome, but they are still par t of the team. One play may matter but the 50 plays before that matter just as much. Kyle Williams losing 2 fumbles hurts but Alex Smith going 1-13 on third downs hurts even more. The lack of effectiveness early magnifies the inefficiency of late in big time playoff games. So to Kyle Williams, Billy Cundiff, and Wes Welker you may have affected the outcome of your teams’ losses but it is not entirely your fault.

Why the 2008 Superbowl Will NOT Repeat Itself

Nobody can forget the 2008 Superbowl matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. The Patriots were entering the game with a perfect record at 18-0 and they were facing an underdog Wildcard team in the New York football Giants. The Giants clawed their way into the Superbowl as they proved why you should never count out a Wildcard team. The Giants won there first round matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-14, and then they won again in the Divisional round versus their divisional rivals the Dallas Cowboys 21-17. There magical run continued as they made it to the NFC Championship game and knocked off the Green Bay Packers and the gunslinger Brett Favre in a 23-20 win. Then came Superbowl day, Feb 3, 2008, aka what everybody thought was Doomsday for the New York Giants. Terrific Tom Brady was strolling in the Superbowl with a record setting and jaw dropping season of 50 touchdown passes thrown. Randy “I play when I wanna play” Moss alone caught 23 TD’s which broke Jerry Rice’s record set in 1987 of 22 receiving touchdowns in a season. This Patriots team was the team of Destiny. They were going to be the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to go undefeated and win the Superbowl, and the first team to do it with a 16 game regular season. The ’72 Dolphins went 14-0 but they only played a 12 game season instead of the 16 games that are played nowadays. Tom Brady was looking to record his 4th Superbowl Championship win and tie the “immortals” Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only Quarterbacks in NFL History to go a 4-0 in the Superbowl. With 1:15 remaining Tom Brady thought that his Patriots had wrapped it up with a 14-10 lead over the Giants. Then the miracle catch, happened. Eli Manning threw a long bomb to  David “God put some sticky gum on my helmet” Tyree who made a miraculous helmet catch on a 3rd down and 5 play that ended up going for 32 yards. That play alone singlehandedly shifted all the momentum and set up the Giants to score and eventually win Superbowl XLII. The miracle catch by David Tyree goes down as the greatest play in Superbowl history and it also cost Tom Brady his 4th Superbowl Trophy.

Something’s seemed to never change. This 2012 Superbowl rematch between the Giants and the Patriots has the same storylines as 2008. The Giants scraped their way into the playoffs by winning the division on the last day of the regular season against none other than the Dallas Cowboys. Wildcard weekend the Giants embarrassed a potential contender in the Atlanta Falcons 24-2, then in the Divisional round they knocked off the defending Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers 37-20. Following that they played the surging San Francisco 49ers who had just came out of a barn burner upset against the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round. However these Giants were hungry and they got after Aaron Rodgers sacking him 5 times and bringing heavy pressure with blitz and pass rush schemes. The Giants were able to beat the 49ers by heavy defensive pressure but mainly the miscues of Kyle Williams. Kyle William’s singlehandedly gave the Giants 10 points and ultimately the game. Yes I know that football is a team sport and yes 1 player does not determine the outcome of the game but in this case Kyle Williams changed that whole philosophy. His muffed punt and fumble handed the Giants 10 points on a platter, and in the NFL playoffs you can’t go around giving away free points like it was candy on Halloween. So the Giants pulled off a 20-17 victory in overtime and now we are here at Superbowl XLII, a rematch of 2008.

These 2012 Giants are so similar to that of 2008. Both Giant teams have a stout defense and rode it all the way to the Superbowl. The amount of pressure the Giants bring on defense is unreal. There defense with studs like Jason Pierre Paul, Osi Umenyora, Justin Tuck get after the quarterback and accumulate the sacks and hits. Eli “Rain Man” Manning (He doesn’t seem all there) had a great season with a completion percentage of 61% and passed for 4,933 yards with 29 TD’s and a 92.9 QB rating.

With all that said, the Giants will not repeat the 2008 Superbowl. These Giants are highly motivated and their defense is tenacious but Tom Brady does not forget. Tom Brady has not forgotten that he was 1:15 seconds away from a 4-0 record in the Superbowl. Tom Brady does not forget that the Giants took away “his would have been” 3rd Superbowl MVP. Great players don’t forget when they lose in the big game. Tom Brady is playing this game with a chip on his shoulder from the haunting loss of 2008. Kobe Bryant lost to the Celtics in 2008 and he remembered the horror so when he got his chance to face the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals he revenged it and claimed sweet victory on his home-court in Lakerland. Tom Brady is trying to do the same and shut up little brother Eli in big brother Peyton’s backyard in Indy. Tom Brady is coming off of a stellar season that is even more impressive than Eli Manning. Brady passed for 5,235 yards which would have been a record if not for Drew Brees (5,476). Pretty boy Tom also threw 39 TD’s had a completion percent of 65.6% and a QB Rating of 105.6. Tom Brady rarely has had any back to back games where he has played poorly and the last one he had was in the AFC Championship win against the Ravens where Billy Cundiff missed the game-tying chip-shot field goal. So Brady is highly motivated to bring his A-game and have one of his best performances of his career. Will the Brady of the Divisional round show up, or will the Brady who squeaked by the Ravens and lost to the Giants in the regular season show up? The Brady who threw for a record tying 6 TD’s against the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round hopes to come through at Superbowl XLVI. The only back to back losses that New England has experienced this year was in weeks 8 and 9 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and then none other than the New York Giants.

Everyone is saying that the big storyline is Rob Gronkowski’s ankle and if he will be able to play. Gronk twisted the ankle nastily vs. the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. The fact is with or without Gronk, Tom Brady will be Tom Brady. Tom Brady knows how to get the most out of his receivers and tight ends. He makes no-names into pro-bowlers. Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch, and yes Rob Gronkowski all are products of Tom Brady. Brady one of the most accurate passers in the NFL delivers the ball on target and threads his passes even in tight coverage. GQ Tom also knows that he can’t sleep on the sleeper New York Giants. He did that once before and it bit him in the 4th index finger.

The Giants gameplan is simple attack and pressure Brady on defense and throw the deep ball on offense while using there 2-headed monster running attack of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon “The Bull” Jacobs. Everyone knows that the Patriots D can’t stop anybody. So the biggest factor for Tom Brady to beat the Giants is to rack up points on the score board and keep his defense off the field as LONG as possible. If Tom Brady can be cool and collected and avoid the pressure and not get sacked, then the Patriots could win this game by a large margin.

All in All, Tom Brady does not forget 2008 so with that said the 2012 Superbowl will have a different result. You messing with an angry Patriot know and the last time we saw this was the Revolutionary War where the Colonists upset the British Empire.

Prediction: Patriots 30 Giants 21