The NBA: Turnovers and Tensions

Jeremy Lin's hometown of Changhua in Taiwan is agog over
his recent success.
(image by Anthony Huang/AFP)

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

“Lin is virtually a household name in China, like Yao Ming, and there is wave after wave of calls for him to join the Chinese basketball team in the London Olympics,” said China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Jeremy Lin turned the ball over 9 times as the Knicks lost to the Hornets, and the already-strained relations between China and Taiwan seem to have taken a hit as well.

The new NBA sensation has apparently sparked a war of words across the Taiwanese strait, as the rival nations seek to lay claim to being Lin’s true ancestral homeland.

The American-born Lin has parents who are Taiwanese immigrants, and he has been hailed as “The Glory of Taiwan.” Ever since coming off the bench and powering the Knicks to a stunning run of wins, Lin has sparked a frantic interest in basketball all around the former Formosa.

His fans in Taiwan range from President Ma Ying-jeou to teenagers rushing to get a Lin haircut. The Taiwan sports lottery has seen brisk sales as buyers place record bets on matches featuring him.

There are many in the mainland, however, who want to lay claim to Lin as THEIR own. This is chiefly because his maternal grandmother is from China. There are even outlandish calls for him to represent China in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

Lin seems to have inherited the mantle of Asia’s NBA ambassador from Yao Ming, who retired last year. Lin is the newest, and most unexpected, sporting icon rising, albeit indirectly, from the world’s biggest continent.

The caveat for the Chinese, though, is that Lin would have to renounce his American citizenship to play for China. Fat chance that’ll happen.

Which is one reason why the Taiwanese are giddy at the prospect of Linsanity wearing their traditional blue unis instead of China’s bright red.

If he does join the Taiwanese, then their stock will shoot up instantly. The main problem the Taiwanese have traditionally had in their past FIBA-Asia tourneys has been the lack of ceiling (resident big men Tseng Wen-Ting, Wu Tai-Hao, and Tien Lei are all no bigger than 6’9”), and Lin will not help in that department, but he will address other big weaknesses of the Taiwanese – athleticism and playmaking.

Just imagine Jeremy Lin running down the floor with super-shooter Lin Chih-Chieh, former Sacramento King-trainee Chen Hsin-An, or even BYU-Hawaii scoring sensation Jet Chang. Any Asian team will be hard-pressed to put a stop to that. He’ll also be able to better match-up against the top wingmen of the continent – Iran’s Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Lebanon’s Fadi El Khatib, and China’s Sun Yue.

That is, of course, if he cuts down on his turnovers.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

ORL over MIL, 94-85
Hedo Turkoglu scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic dominated the final period to beat the Bucks. Dwight Howard finished with 26 points and 20 rebounds, while Ryan Anderson added 23 points as Orlando won its fourth straight. Carlos Delfino scored a team-high 16 points for Milwaukee, which shot just 20 percent in the fourth quarter to drop its fourth consecutive game.
CHA over TOR, 98-91
The Bobcats' 16-game losing streak is over. Reggie Williams scored 22 points, Corey Maggette had 16 and they beat the Raptors. It was their first victory since January 14 and snapped a franchise-record skid that gave Charlotte the worst record in the NBA.
MIA over CLE, 111-87
LeBron James tried to soften the blow earlier this week of his once earth-shattering departure from Cleveland by mentioning the possibility of returning. He did come back to Ohio, and he led the Heat to their fifth straight blowout win on the road. James scored 28 points and Dwyane Wade added 22 as the Heat won by at least 15 points in each of its last five contests.
DET over SAC, 114-108
Rodney Stuckey scored a season-high 36 points as the Pistons outlasted the Kings. Brandon Knight and Tayshaun Prince each added double-doubles, as Knight scored 23 to go with a career-high 10 assists and Prince netted 22 while pulling down 10 rebounds. The Pistons have now won two straight since dropping two in a row.
MIN over HOU, 111-98
Kevin Love had 33 points and 17 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic scored a career-high 30, as the Timberwolves got their 2nd win in a row. Ricky Rubio added 18 points and 9 assists. Chandler Parsons had 18 points for the Rockets, who were coming off of Wednesday's win over the Thunder. They have lost three of four overall.
MEM over DEN, 103-102
Memphis saw its 23-point lead disappear in the second half, but Dante Cunningham's tip-in with 0.2 seconds left in the game lifted them to a tight victory over the Nuggets. Rudy Gay scored 20 points, O.J. Mayo had 17 and Marc Gasol added 16 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists in the Grizzlies' third straight win and their fifth in six games.
NOH over NYK, 89-85
Trevor Ariza scored 25 points, Marco Belinelli had 17 and the New Orleans Hornets were the first to beat the Jeremy Lin-led Knicks, snapping NYK’s 7-game run. There wasn't any late-game magic in the cards for Lin and the Knicks, just 26 more points from the unexpected star, who stepped his play up in the second half after turning the ball over eight times in the first half. Lin, who led the Knicks on their longest winning streak since last season, missed a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final minutes and saw two tough drives end without baskets after that.
OKC over GSW, 110-87
James Harden scored 25 points in a reserve role and Kevin Durant filled the stat sheet with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in the Thunder’s rout of the Warriors. Russell Westbrook netted 18 points for the Thunder, who won for the third time in four games, but he appeared to sprain his right ankle late in the third quarter.
DAL over PHI, 82-75
Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points, including 24 in the second half, as the Mavs completed a nice comeback against the Sixers. Nowitzki's 24 points matched the second-half output of the entire Sixers team, marking the lowest points in a half for the Sixers in the 16-year history of the Wells Fargo Center. Nowitzki also pulled down 12 rebounds and Vince Carter chipped in 10 points for Dallas, who was without Jason Terry (personal reasons) and Delonte West (broken right ring finger). Dallas has now won six straight contests.
UTA over WAS, 114-100
Al Jefferson scored 34 points with 12 rebounds and the Utah Jazz snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over Washington. The Jazz also stopped a two-game slide to the Wizards, getting 14 points and 12 rebounds from Paul Millsap and 13 points off the bench from Alec Burks.
LAL over PHX, 111-99
Kobe Bryant had 36 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, as the Lakers downed the Suns in the opener of a home-and-home at Staples Center. Andrew Bynum added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won three straight and four of five. Matt Barnes also had 17 points while Derek Fisher chipped in 12 and Pau Gasol finished with 10 and 13 rebounds. The Suns, meanwhile, have lost four in a row and five of their last six.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Rodney Stuckey (DET) & Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 36
Al Jefferson (UTA) 34
Kevin Love (MIN) – 33
Nikola Pekovic (MIN) – 30

Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons to a nice win
over the visiting Kings.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 20
Kevin Love (MIN) – 17
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 16

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Steve Nash (PHX) – 17
Greivis Vasquez (NOH) – 11
Brandon Knight (DET) & DJ Augustin (CHA) – 10

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Mike Conley (MEM) – 5
A LOT with 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Bismack Biyombo (CHA) – 7
Dwight Howard (ORL) & Ekpe Udoh (GSW) – 4

Bismack Biyombo (L) has risen to be one of the
top rejectors in the league.

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Corey Brewer (DEN) – 5
A LOT with 4

Feb. 17, 2012 First Five
C – Dwight Howard (ORL) – 26pts, 20rebs, 4blks, 1ast, 1stl
F – Al Jefferson (UTA) – 34pts, 12rebs, 3stls, 1ast, 1blk
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 33pts, 17rebs, 2blks, 1ast
G – Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 36pts, 9rebs, 6asts, 4stls, 1blk
G – Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 36pts, 3rebs, 1stl, 1blk

Jon Brockman is no match for the heft and power of Dwight Howard.

Honorable Mention:
Nikola Pekovic (MIN) – 30pts, 12rebs, 3stls, 3blks, 1ast
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 26pts, 15rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 1blk
LeBron James (MIA) – 28pts, 5rebs, 5asts, 3 treys, 1stl, 1blk

Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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