On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin learned something that not even the professors at Harvard could teach him.
The Miami Heat pressured the young point guard and played “Lintense” defense to beat the Knicks 102-88. Chris Bosh led all scorers 25 points while Lebron James added 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals and two blocks. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 19 points.
The game was Miami’s eighth straight win, all by at least 12 points. After New York’s seven game winning streak was snapped against the New Orleans Hornets on Feb. 17, the Knicks have now lost three of their last five going into All-Star Weekend.
“A learning experience,” Lin said of his performance to reporters after the game. “A tough one.”
Lin would also credit Miami’s defense to being so good it was tough for him to dribble at times.
Despite the performance, Lin found himself receiving praise from the opposition after the game. All Star Dwyane Wade didn’t take anything away from Lin and knows the future is still bright for the 23-year-old.
“First of all, he deserves all of the credit he’s been given,” Wade said to reporters after the game. “We knew it was going to be a tough task guarding him. ... He’s a good player, but we put a lot of pressure on him and it was a success.”
Many were on hand for the most anticipated game of the regular season so far. Celebrities from the likes of Spike Lee, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Chad Ochocinco made the trip to Miami to watch Lin play the Heat for the first time.
For about three quarters, the game lived up to the hype before the Heat began to pull away.
The fans were not the only ones who were amped up. Miami’s defensive intensity was evident from the opening tip and they held the Knicks to just 39 percent from the field. The Heat also forced the Knicks to turn the ball over 19 times and added 10 blocked shots as a team.
Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni believes that the Miami defense wanted to make a statement and end the hot streak for Lin. He knows that his point guard is still young and it is expected that there will be games like this.
“I’m sure they were all geeked up for him,” D’Antoni said of the Heat defense against Lin. “And they took the challenge and they did a great job. It’s hard to be Peter Pan every day.”
The Knicks will play next on Wednesday Feb. 29 when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.