This is not some cynical post in which we try our hardest to uncover the dark secrets and sordid past of the second-year point guard from Harvard. (NOTE: that’s probably happening somewhere in the blogosphere right now). No, this is just a simple post about the 29 other teams and their 348 active players.
Shockingly, the league didn’t just call it a night following J-Lin’s game winning three pointer in Toronto. Although after taking a quick glance at ESPN.com, it might as well had. The third story on espn.com/nba: Report: Lin moving from couch to apartment.
What have we been missing in the midst of all the Linsanity?
San Antonio Rising
Quietly (and I mean like you didn’t hear a damn thing about it), the San Antonio Spurs have won eight straight — the league’s longest active winning streak. The Spurs have won the first four games of their annual Rodeo Road Trip — a trip that will touch nine different cities and span nearly 8,000 miles. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Tim Duncan has turned in five straight games with at least a double-double, one steal and one block — the first time TD has done that since the 2005-2006 season. Tony Parker is once again an All-star and Manu Ginobili is back after recovering from a broken hand. All is well in Spursland.
But coach Pop has opted to slowly bring Manu back, telling the San Antonio Express-News that Manu was a “15-20 minute guy right now.” Coach Pop isn’t about to throw Manu to the wolves, not when he’s getting great production from former UNC Tar Heel SG/SF Danny Green, undrafted second year SG Gary Neal and rookie do-everything forward Kawai Leonard. Green, Neal and Leonard have filled in nicely for Ginobili while bringing a shot of youth and energy to a Spurs lineup whose core (Duncan/Parker/Ginobili) combined age is 98. Add the emergence of frontcourt Spaniard Tiago Splitter and the ruggedness of DuJuan Blair and the 20-9 Spurs have all the makings of a formidable contender out West.
South Beach Blowouts
On Friday, Feb. 10, the Miami Heat began a stretch of four road games in five nights. They won by 17, 20, 18 and 15 in those games. The Heat became the first team since 1979 to win three road games in three nights. Despite making history, the Heat are getting little press. With Bron coming back to the Cleveland on Friday night, that is sure to change, unless of course Lin goes for 50 or something. But ‘Bron isn’t worried about the annual return to his hometown. I think he just wants some damn rest.
“I am not looking at Friday right now, I’m looking for a day off,” James told ESPN.com. “Tomorrow’s going to be the best day of my life.”
Fortunately for the Portland Trail Blazers, Linsanity doesn’t discriminate. It overshadows the good and the bad — or in the Blazers case, the ugly.
Losing by 15 at home to the Washington Wizards, the Blazers’ fourth loss in their last five, has put former coach of the year candidate, Nate McMillan fully entrenched in hot seat madness. After starting the season 7-2, coach Nate is searching for answers and in need of a lineup shakeup. He reportedly was considering removing pg Raymond Felton from the starting lineup for Jamal Crawford. UPDATE: Nicolas Batum is now the starting SG, replacing Wesley Matthews. Something had to give for a Portland team who can’t seem to close out games, losing three straight heartbreakers to the Thunder (OT), Rockets and Mavs (OT) before succumbing to the Wizards at the Rose Garden. Think they miss Brandon Roy?
It doesn’t get any easier for Portland who have to play Golden State on the road followed by six straight against teams .500 or better.
So that’s just a glimpse of what we missed last week thanks to Jeremy Lin. I wonder what we’ll not notice tonight?