Knicks Revisit Linsanity in Houston

The Knicks visit Jeremy Lin in Houston on Friday night

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Nov 23, 2012  |  Updated 4:17 PM EDT
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Knicks Revisit Linsanity in Houston

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Losing Lin hasn't hurt the Knicks one bit.

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In a parallel universe, the Knicks' Friday night date with Houston is being viewed as the nadir of the Knicks' young season. 

In that universe, Jeremy Lin has raised his game now that he's out from under the shadow of Carmelo Anthony while the Knicks look for strong point guard play from an overweight Raymond Felton and too-old Jason Kidd. The tabloids are feasting on Knicks blood and the Garden is an angry, angry place. 

While it's Friday, it's safe to say that we can all find a moment to say thanks that we do not live in that universe. We've had enough years like that with the Knicks, which makes it more than okay that this year's edition can actually handle their business. 

And that remains true even after Wednesday's loss to the Mavericks. The Knicks had their struggles in the second half of back-to-back games, but they found their footing enough to give themselves a real chance to win the game after falling down by 10 points in the second half. 

The biggest bone to pick comes with Mike Woodson's rotation, which needs to be deeper than eight men in the second game of a stretch that sees the Knicks playing five times in seven nights. It's the second time the Knicks have lost the back end of consecutive games, something that is worth noting for an older roster. 

That's in the past, though, and there was plenty about Wednesday that reinforced the belief that letting Lin scurry off to Houston was a perfectly fine move. The offense still moved the ball crisply, especially on pick-and-rolls with Tyson Chandler, and there continues to be nothing lacking from this team that Lin could provide. 

Felton and Kidd have everything to do with that as they continue to shoot, penetrate and defend at a high level for a team scoring and defending much more efficiently than they did when Lin was part of the lineup. Lin, meanwhile, has turned in garish shooting (33 percent from the field, 23 percent from three) and little defensive advantage for the 5-7 Rockets. 

You can't judge any move in full after 10 or 12 games so this isn't some moment to gloat if you never wanted Lin to stick around or rend your garments in shame if you wanted him to stay. It's pretty clear, though, that the Knicks weren't given quite enough credit for knowing their team when the deal went down this summer. 

They built around something sustainable instead of trying to grab onto that remarkable run Lin had last season and hoping it became a lasting reality. They handled it poorly and didn't make the decision on basketball terms, which is silly because there was a real basketball rationale for the decision. 

That's all it should have been in the end, a basketball decision. It was treated as something much more monumental, but Friday night should make it clear that the basketball was the only thing that ever really mattered. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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