Jeremy Lin has the New York Knicks on a very nice three-game winning streak, but the ultimate test comes on Friday night (Feb. 10) when the team hosts the Los Angeles Lakers. At least the Lakers are coming off a really tough overtime game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night (Feb. 9), but the Lakers did win that game and may ride some of that momentum into Madison Square Garden.
The biggest worry for the Knicks is that Kobe Bryant is in town again and he has made a living off of big games in New York. It's easy to expect that he is going to try to score at more than 30 points during this nationally televised game and that the depleted Knicks may have a difficult time trying to stop him. The job falls on Landry Fields, who will get counted on to at least put a body on Bryant every chance he gets.
Then there is Lin, who has taken advantage of recent playing time to score at least 23 points in the Knicks' last three games against the Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz and New Jersey Nets. All three opponents have respectable point guards too, so it isn't like Lin was doing this against an unworthy opponent. Some might write off his success as coming against terrible teams though and with the exception of the Jazz game it is hard to argue with that assessment. Lin gets his chance to really prove himself against the Lakers on Friday though.
The Knicks are still without starting forwards Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, meaning it is up to Tyson Chandler to try to corral both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the low post. Jared Jeffries really has his work cut out for him, but maybe the way that the Knicks have come together as a team recently can help overcome the disadvantages heading into this game.
The Lakers and Knicks already faced off one this season at Staples Center back on Dec. 29. It was not pretty though, as the Lakers ran away with a 99-82 win. Now the team is pieced together with role players that didn't even see minutes in that game and Knicks fans will have a front row seat to what takes place on Friday night (Feb. 10). Game time is 8 p.m. ET and let's all hope that some Madison Square Garden magic is about to happen.
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*Ryan Christopher DeVault is a fan of the New York Knicks that has followed the team since the days John Starks, Charles Oakley, and Anthony Mason instilled their defensive will on the rest of the league.