Jeremy Lin, Week Two, Kicks Off With Questions

Lin's emergence creates questions about Anthony and Stoudemire.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Act I of the Jeremy Lin story was a huge hit.

    Jeremy Lin has a couple of days off for the first time since he became the biggest thing to happen to the NBA since The Decision.

    It's a good bet that he'll spend a little bit of that time pinching himself just to make sure that this hasn't all been some kind of wonderful dream. Lin's play has had plenty of Knicks fans doing just that, although plenty of people seem to be more concerned with figuring out how it will all come crashing to a halt.

    Last week's belief that Lin was a bubble that was about to burst has been put aside for concerns about how the Knicks are going to keep winning once Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire return to the lineup.

    Stoudemire should be back on Tuesday night in Toronto after burying his brother over the weekend, although that seems to be a lesser concern than how Anthony will coexist with Lin.

    Pundits local and national have spent plenty of time weighing in with their doubts about the ability of the Knicks' previous savior and their current one to form the core of a successful unit.

    It seems funny that all of the people who were bemoaning the lack of a point guard when the Knicks offense was struggling or bemoaning the loss of Chauncey Billups in the offseason are now so convinced that there will be a problem playing Anthony and Lin at the same time.

    That might be right, but it sure feels like it is better to try things with an optimal roster than it was to keep throwing Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby out there with no hope of having things work out.

    The fourth quarter of the Timberwolves game would seem to suggest that there's a way to put everything together in a winning package. Lin was exhausted, the Wolves were defending him well and the Knicks' lack of another option to carry the load offensively was glaring.

    From that vantage point, having a player with Anthony's ability to create for himself looks like a mighty good thing that won't take anything away from the skills Lin flashed in this wondrous week of basketball.

    What's more, being able to feed Anthony in the post or have him as an outlet throughout the game would lessen the physical toll Lin has had to take in these last four games to keep him fresh for those crunchtime moments.

    Ultimately, you have to believe that Lin, a player who has made Jared Jeffries look like a competent offensive player, and Anthony, whose experiences with Syracuse and the national team are conveniently left out of these discussions, will make it work.

    It might take a little time thanks to David Stern's madcap schedule eliminating any and all practice time, but there's plenty of evidence to support things going well from here on out.

    We've got plenty of time to see how all of that plays out, though. Anthony's return isn't imminent and Stoudemire's reintegration should be fairly smooth given his past experiences playing with an aggressive point guard who knows how to run an offense.

    So stop worrying about tomorrow quite so much and just enjoy what we got over the last five games because it was everything we love about sports. It was unexpected, improbable, surprising and a dozen other things that left you with a goofy smile on your face.

    A season that looked like it was destined to wind up on the scrap heap of disappointment has been infused with overwhelming energy and fun. You can't wait to see what happens next, which is a pretty nice change from the normal dread that accompanies the turning pages of a Knicks season.

    And, on Friday night when Lin scored 38 points to lead the Knicks through a duel with the Lakers, it was the rare moment when the hype machine fell short of reality. It was Friday night at the Garden on ESPN against Kobe Bryant and that sent the expectation meter through the roof.

    Yet, when all was said and done, all of the advance billing felt insufficient to what went down on the court. How often has that ever happened in New York (or anywhere else, for that matter)?

    Those moments don't come around all that often and they deserve a little celebration before everyone rushes to figure out if it will happen over and over again.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.