Cavaliers-Knicks Preview

The Associated Press

Jeremy Lin's rise to stardom continues to captivate. Lin thinks the rest of the resurgent New York Knicks deserve some attention.

Lin and the Knicks emerge from the All-Star break Wednesday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lin has quickly become perhaps the biggest story of the NBA season, emerging from obscurity to spark the Knicks as their new point guard. He's averaged 22.6 points and 8.7 assists during a 9-3 run that has New York (17-18) looking more like the playoff team it expected to be at the start of the season.

The Knicks are tied with Boston for seventh in the East, and trail Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia by four games.

Lin, a reserve for Golden State last season who was cut twice in December before landing in New York, thinks there's much more to the Knicks' turnaround.

"I mean, we're unbelievably talented and you look on the headlines, you look on ESPN, you see 'Lin this' and 'Lin that,'" he said. "But we may be the deepest team in the NBA, so I think we should start talking about that as well."

Even with that depth, New York could use more production from its stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Anthony is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 38.3 percent in three games after missing seven with a groin injury, while Stoudemire's 17.5 points per game represent a 7.8 drop from last season.

While Anthony scored 19 points for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's All-Star game, Stoudemire was resting and believes he's primed for a strong second half.

"It's going to be great. Every second half of the year, I have a tendency to turn it up because you know how important it is," Stoudemire said. "After the All-Star break, getting that momentum going to the postseason is always very, very key. You're playing at your best going into the postseason, so it's going to be an incredible second half of the year for me."

New York will try to bounce back after losing its final game before the break, 102-88 at conference-leading Miami on Thursday as Lin managed eight points and three assists while turning the ball over eight times.

"He'll have a learning curve and there will be nights where he won't look good, but I think he's a very good player and we're going to ride him and he'll just keep getting better," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

The Knicks have dropped 12 of their last 13 meetings with the Cavaliers (13-19), including a 91-81 defeat at Cleveland on Jan. 25, a game in which Lin didn't get off the bench. Stoudemire had 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Anthony finished with 15 points.

The Cavaliers finished 4-5 on their season-high nine-game homestand, which concluded Tuesday with an 86-83 loss to the Celtics. They avoided a scare when Kyrie Irving returned from a bruised elbow that sidelined him late in the second quarter.

"I just hit my elbow on the floor," said Irving, who scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half. "Once I got back (to the locker room) I felt much better. There was nothing funny about it (hitting his funny bone). It was my first almost-injury in the NBA."

Irving, the first overall selection from last summer's NBA draft, scored just seven while making 1 of 7 from the field against the Knicks last month.

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