HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Lost In Linsanity: Knicks Improved Defense
By Tommy Beer
“Linsanity” has become an international phenomenon, dominating headlines from Brooklyn to Beijing.
However, as remarkable and incredible as the Jeremy Lin story has been, it isn’t the sole reason the Knicks are surging and climbing up the Eastern Conference standings. With Lin getting unprecedented coverage and heaps of credit, the other ingredients that have played a part in the recent success enjoyed by the Knicks seemed to have received short shrift. In particular, New York’s markedly improved defense has been essential to their recent run.
Long a sore spot for Mike D’Antoni, his team’s defensive consistency (or lack thereof) had previously been an impediment to their success. But recently, New York’s stingy defense has been essential to their winning ways.
When the Knicks knocked off the Kings at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday night, beating Sacramento100-85 for their seventh straight victory, it was also the seventh straight game New York had held their opponent to below 100 points. This tied the organization’s longest streak of that kind over the past 18 seasons. The last time New York had matched that feat was back in 2001, which, coincidentally, was the last time the Knicks won a playoff game.
New Jersey Scores Big With Marshon Brooks
By Joel Brigahm
Jimmer Fredette led the NCAA in scoring last season, and he was drafted appropriately for having done so. Right behind him in the stats, however, was this kid MarShon Brooks, who averaged 24.6 ppg for a mediocre Providence team that too few people watched. Despite his having dropped 52 and 43 points and different times over the course of the year, he simply wasn’t getting seen by enough people.
That, of course, has changed in Brooks’ rookie season with the New Jersey Nets, where he is second among rookies in scoring behind only Kyrie Irving. At 14.1 ppg, Brooks has almost doubled Fredette’s scoring output, but back in May, before the draft combine in Chicago, nobody was particularly interested in this kid.
My, how things have changed.
“I came into the combine projected as a second-round pick, so I had this huge chip on my shoulder. I wanted to go out there and prove something,” Brooks told HOOPSWORLD. “While I had all the scouts in the gym at the same time, I wanted to prove that I could play with anybody in this draft. I had a good combine, and it helped me go in the late first round to the Nets.”
Anthony Looks Back On All-Star Melodrama
By Alex Kennedy
Carmelo Anthony saw the horde of reporters from across the room. As he approached his podium, he had to dodge recorder-wielding media members left and right. This wasn’t a new scene for Anthony, who had to answer question after question about his future with the Denver Nuggets during last year’s All-Star game in Los Angeles. All eyes were on Anthony as “Melodrama” unfolded.
Now, the large group wasn’t assembled to ask Anthony questions. The horde was preparing to interview Dwight Howard, stationed several feet away. There were so many reporters around Howard that they spilled over to Anthony’s area. Before making any comments of his own, Anthony stood up on his chair and looked into the middle of the media scrum surrounding Howard.
“Whew,” Anthony said, shaking his head. “I’m glad it’s not me anymore.”
While Anthony had it rough last year, at least he was able to escape to Los Angeles for the weekend. Howard has to answer questions about his future with the Magic while surrounded by local media in an Orlando hotel.
Kemba Walker: The Other Rookie PG
By Stephen Brotherston
In the year of Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving, it can be easy to overlook the accomplishments Kemba Walker as he toils in Charlotte. While the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves are exceeding expectations, the Bobcats are a league-worst 4-27.
Playing in media obscurity, Walker owns the third spot on the NBA Rookie Ladder and was recently honored with a selection to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend.
“I am so happy for him that he made that rookie thing and it just shows me that he has it,” said Bobcats head coach Paul Silas. “He’s going to be good.”
“It’s cool,” said Walker. “It is a good experience. I am excited to know that coaches really pay attention and see that I am trying to do my best. I am just looking forward to the opportunity.”
Father Time Finally Catching Celtics?
By Derek Page
Coach Doc Rivers knew the moment his career was over, will the Boston Celtics know when it’s time to start thinking towards the future?
The possibility of an end to the Celtics days of being title contenders in the East is nothing new. Critics bashed Boston after losing in the conference semifinals last season to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami HEAT – this after the C’s took the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the NBA Finals just a year earlier.
However the idea that this team may be just plain finished is something new this season, and the C’s sub .500 record with one game to go heading into the All Star break could be a telling sign that this team may merely be a shell of their former selves.
Do the Celtics, with three of their best four players at the age of 34 or above, have one more run in them, or is this a team on it’s last legs yearning for an infusion of youth and a new direction?