N.Y. Knicks' Jeremy Lin takes his talents to South Beach and Miami Heat

Thursday, 23 February 2012 17:45
linJeremy022312_optBY DAVE RAGAZZO

Tonight, Jeremy Lin will have a chance to take his talents down to South Beach.

The Knicks travel to Miami to face Lebron James and the Heat tonight in the final game before the NBA All-Star Break. It will be the first major test for the resurgent Knicks who will be looking to end the first half of the season with their record above .500.

After Wednesday night’s 99-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks, Lin addressed the media about playing against James who is one of the best defenders in the league.

"Obviously, LeBron is a great player and a great, great defender. So I've just got to be aggressive and not change anything on my end," Lin said.

When asked about Lin, James did not shy away from what he intends to do to keep the point guard in check.

"I know I'm going to end up guarding Lin at some point," James said to reporters in Miami.

The emergence of Lin has lead to the Knicks turning their season around in a short amount of time. The team is 9-2 since Lin’s breakout performance against the Nets on Feb. 4 and during that span, Lin is averaging 23.9 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Lin’s story is one that has turned the sports world upside down. Undrafted out of Harvard in 2010, Lin played only 22 total minutes in his first month with the Knicks.

Because they were facing a deadline in which the team either had to decide whether to release him or guarantee his contract, Head Coach Mike D’Antoni decided to give the 23-year old significant minutes against the Nets.

In that game Lin played 36 minutes with 25 points and seven assists. He was 10-19 from the floor and added two steals.

D’Antoni is excited for Lin to get his first action against James. Despite the excitement, D’Antoni says he won’t be giving his young point guard any advice about being matched up with James.

“He'll find out himself. He might as well experience it," D'Antoni said. "That's good; it's maximum respect if it happens. Jeremy will handle it, and hopefully the Knicks will handle it."

James will not be matched up with Lin for the entire game as his focus will mostly be on Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony. It is expected that the Heat point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole will be guarding Lin with Dwayne Wade also helping out.

Unlike D’Antoni, the veteran Anthony says that he will be giving Lin some words of wisdom before tonight’s game.

"They have some great guys on that team, they're a great team [and] they're playing great team basketball right now," Anthony said. "It's going to be a fun atmosphere down there. It's going to be one of the games that he hasn't been part of yet."

Tip-off for tonight’s game is at 7 p.m. and will be nationally televised on TNT.