Knicks 92, Lakers 85: "Don't wake me up."

First of all, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHFHFHIOFHOIADHAOGOIGHAOHI!!!!!!

Moving on. This'll be a short recap (I think) in part because it's the weekend and I want to go celebrate and in part because I am completely dumbfounded. Like fuhry flossy in the post-game thread, I keep expecting the dream to end, but it still hasn't. It just keeps getting better and better.

If you missed tonight's game, 1. I feel terribly sorry for you. 2. Jeremy Lin, somehow, just kept building his legend, and this time he did it against an extremely physical defense with some towers in the paint. He finished with yet another career-high point total of 38 to go with seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals (six turnovers, too) and he did it in such a way that I no longer have a voice, which doesn't really matter because I am speechless.

After the jump, an insufficient summary of what Lin did, plus some quick individual breakdowns of the other Knicks to play and other details and stuff.

- Let's just get this out of the way: The Lakers played like hogshit. They were tired and rickety and sloppy. A couple weeks ago, a Lakers team playing like this still would have destroyed the Knicks.

Lin by quarter:

1. The Lakers made it clear from the outset that they were going to 1. Beat the hell out of Lin. 2. Sag off him and let him shoot. The former didn't rattle him and neither did the latter. After missing his first jumper and getting thrown to the ground by "Metta World Peace", Lin drilled a three over "World Peace" on a second opportunity, then nailed an in-rhythm pull-up two when Derek Fisher went under a screen. Then he threw a gorgeous look-away lob to Tyson Chandler in transition. Then he drilled another pull-up jumper from the free throw line extended. Then I swallowed my tongue. He finished the quarter with 10 points (all in the first five minutes), adding a coast-to-coast lay-in off a backcourt steal before he hit the bench.

2. Lin returned with about 8 minutes left in the second and started to see multiple defenders. He was flummoxed in the paint a couple times, losing his dribble in the process, but got used to the new look and drove by Steve Blake twice, once to draw a foul on the floor, then again to hit a floater plus the foul. He kept right on driving, knifing right to the rim a few times, stopping and rotating for a mid-range J at least once, and tossing a couple gorgeous passes to Steve Novak on the perimeter or Chandler slipping to the rim. His best basket -- and I say this with the uneasiness of a father picking the favorite of his thirteen beloved children-- was a spinning righty finish in transition right past a Laker big (don't remember which because my eyeballs fell out of my head). It was obscene.

Oh, and he threw an inbound pass to himself off Jared Jeffries's back at one point. That was badass.

3. More drives and finishes, even with contact. Derek Fisher got burned and so did Jason Kapono and I think I may have gotten scored on too but I'm not mad.

4. Lin reentered the game with things getting a little shaky, and the Knicks immediately went on a 6-0 run (the first four points came from Iman Shumpert). Lin faked a three and drilled a long pull-up two then, off an offensive rebound, nailed a corner three. Later, he blew by Matt Barnes and finished what has now become a signature twisting righty reverse lay-up in the left side of the rim. He drew what was pretty much the game-winning charge.

I missed some things. All throughout, there were nice feeds to Chandler, some slick dimes in transition, and a couple of kick-outs for open threes. Guys weren't finishing his passes the same way they were on Wednesday or he would've easily had double-digit assists. This was definitely more of an attacking game, though, because the Lakers made a concerted effort to clog the paint and force Lin to either shoot or kick out...so he did. He kept demanding the ball and attacking against mismatches, catching guys on the wrong foot, and squeezing himself into tight spaces to score and draw fouls. Lin did some stuff wrong-- he over-helped defensively on occasion, telegraphed some passes, and lost his handle a few times-- but dominated in pretty much every other regard. It was and still is unbelievable.

I say all the above in semi-coherent sentences with punctuation and lower-case letters and stuff, but let me make it clear that I screamed at the top of my lungs pretty uniformly from 8 PM until about 11. If I had a voice, I'd still be screaming. I'm pretty sure there are little birds circling my head. I am absolutely beside myself.

- The MVP of people who are humans was Tyson Chandler. Tyson didn't get many looks (4-5) because of that collapsing Los Angeles defense, but he absolutely dominated the defensive end of the floor. He held Andrew Bynum to 1-8 shooting and just 3 points by wedging Bynum away from the basket before the catch, forcing him under the rim if he got the ball down low, and keeping his hands up without fouling (just three, which was massive). The Knicks brought help on Bynum, especially early, but for the most part, it was a brilliant individual effort from Chandler.

- When and if Chandler had help, it was often provided by Jared Jeffries. Jeffries was everywhere defensively, and he actually finished some fine plays at the rim, including one of the most awkward jump-stop lay-ups I've ever seen. It should have been a travel just out of principle, but we'll take the two points.

- Speaking of which, I don't really care anymore, but the refs swindled New York out of a possession by calling a foul, granting Tyson Chandler free throws, then retracting those two points later in the game when they realized the Lakers weren't actually in the penalty at the time (and didn't Chandler hit only one of the free throws, or did we make that up?). Doesn't matter now, but that was weird. For what it's worth, they totally made it up later by giving the Knicks a new 24 in the fourth quarter even though a shot clearly hadn't hit the rim.

- Landry Fields played good, aggressive (though, late in the game, futile) defense against Kobe Bryant, but was silent from the field. So was Bill Walker. Iman Shumpert, too, until that fourth quarter, when he hit some huuuuge Laker-momentum-busting shots off the dribble and in transition. Shump, like he does, missed a ton of open lay-ups off nice drives, but those buckets down the stretch were crucial.

- Also, his bright orange shoes made Shump's feet blend into the paint on TV. It made it look like he was stepping into an orange pool, which was neat.

- I might be mistaken, the only other time Clyde has worn his white/black/brown cow suit (he wore it, by the way) was during last year's home win over the Spurs, which may have been the best win of the year. He should save it for special occasions, but yo...that thing is powerful.

- Steve Novak shot just 2-8 on threes. The team as a whole shot just 5-21 from downtown!

- Bill Walker got in the head of "Metta World Peace" (which doesn't seem too difficult) and drove him to commit roughly nine fouls in a span of a minute in the third quarter. That helped.

- Kobe and a heap of missed free throws nearly undid everything. If they lost, I may have rioted. By myself. Just out in the streets burnin' shit and tryin' to flip cars. It would have been bedlam.

- The Knicks beat the Lakers without Amar'e Stoudemire, without Carmelo Anthony, with 5-21 shooting from downtown, with a 48-41 rebounding deficit, and with Shump, Fields, and Walker shooting 9-31.

There's other stuff but we'll talk about it tomorrow. I'm gonna get naked and go do somersaults in the street. I love you all.

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