Well, Oklahoma City, you can’t have everything.
When it comes to the NBA, we’re pretty fortunate out here on the Great Plains. The Thunder owns the NBA’s best record (21-6). Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are young All-Stars locked into long-term contracts. The Thunder has been the league’s darlings most of the last two and a half seasons. And OKC home crowds are developing a reputation among the league’s best.
But Oklahoma City will miss out on the NBA’s biggest story this season unless the Thunder and New York Knicks meet in the NBA Finals.
When the New York Knicks made their one and only Chesapeake Energy Arena appearance on Jan. 14, Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin barely played. He got five minutes of run in a game the Thunder led by 30 when Durant sat down for good with two minutes left — in the third quarter.
Lin’s OKC line: 3 points in five minutes on 1 of 2 shooting and a 3-pointer.
A month later, Lin is taking the world — yes, the world — by storm.
The Knicks are 4-0 in Lin’s first four career starts. His 109 points in those four games are the most for four any NBA player in his first four starts since 1976-77. He’s the first player in NBA history to tally at least 20 points and seven assists in his first four starts.
He’s averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals as a Knicks starter while breathing life into a dormant franchise. All of which has earned Lin the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors. Westbrook won the league’s Western Conference weekly honors for the second time this season.
As for Lin, he is doing for New York what the Knicks thought the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire would do. The story of the Asian-American kid who came from the end of the bench to sudden stardom, who still sleeps on a couch in his brother’s apartment, is captivating the NBA like Tebowmania captivated the NFL last season.
When the Knicks played in Minneapolis last week, the Timberwolves attracted their largest crowd in eight years.
The NBA says that 12 percent of all customized jerseys sold on NBA.com last week were Lin’s No. 17 Knicks jerseys. The Knicks themselves reported a 3,000 percent increase in online sales last week.
And Monday business analysts were saying Jeremy Lin could help settle the dispute between MSG and Time Warner Cable Inc. According to Associated Press reporter Marley Seaman, Knicks games on the MSG network aren’t being broadcast on Time Warner Cable due to a dispute. But Lin’s popularity could bring Time Warner back to the negotiating table. Ratings for Knicks broadcasts were up 36 percent for Lin’s first two starts.
The Madison Square Garden Co. shares reached an all-time high Monday at $32.27 in afternoon trading.