Lin's Cinderella season ends with surgery

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Lin's Cinderella season ends with surgery

NEW YORK -- Linsanity won't be around for a playoff push.Jeremy Lin is instead heading for left knee surgery that is expected to sideline him six weeks, possibly ending his amazing breakthrough season and leaving the New York Knicks without their starting point guard as they fight for a postseason spot.Lin had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear and he has elected to have surgery next week in New York.With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is probably done unless the Knicks make a deep playoff run.

Speaking slowly during a pregame press conference, Lin was unable to hide his disappointment with the decision that was reached earlier Saturday after a painful workout."It (stinks) not being able to be out there with the team," Lin said. "And you know, it is what it is and so hopefully I can come back as soon as I can and help everybody."He was barely holding on to a place in the NBA back in February. Now, after the back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and popularity around the world, he has to go back to the bench when he wants to play most."If this was done very early in the year, obviously ... I don't know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot," Lin said. "But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard."The Knicks will continue to turn to Baron Davis in place of Lin, the undrafted Harvard alum who became the starter in February and turned in a series of brilliant performances, kicking off a phenomenon that was called Linsanity.Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 assists, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story.The Knicks were under .500 and looking like a mess when Lin was given a chance to play extended minutes at point guard for then-coach Mike D'Antoni on Feb. 4 against New Jersey.Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, scored 25 points with seven assists in that New York victory, was inserted into the starting lineup two days later against Utah, and took the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that gained world-wide attention.The 23-year-old Lin left the Knicks' easy victory over Detroit last Saturday after feeling discomfort, saying afterward he could have returned for the fourth quarter if the game had been close. He took part in shootaround before their game Monday and at first believed he could deal with the pain.Though the swelling went down, the pain never did. He said he got three or four opinions that all said the same thing, and after testing it again Friday and Saturday, he decided to have the surgery."I can't really do much. Can't really cut or jump, so it's pretty clear that I won't be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now," Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. "It's disappointing for me, it's hard to watch the games and I think I'd want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it's a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully."It's the second serious injury loss of the week for the Knicks, who are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Amare Stoudemire is out two to four weeks with a back injury, leaving the Knicks without their second- and third-leading scorers for perhaps the remainder of the regular season.Davis still isn't 100 percent after a herniated disk in his back kept him out of action until February. The Knicks also have Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas, plus rookie Iman Shumpert as point guard options, but none as good as Lin."We've got to go on, but he's a big piece of our puzzle and what we were doing as of late before he actually went out," interim coach Mike Woodson said. "All's not bad. Again, we've got three veteran point guards sitting over there and the rookie we could play some at the point. We're just going to have to make do until he's able to get back into uniform. But it is a big blow."Lin flourished in D'Antoni's offense, and there was immediate speculation he would struggle - or even lose his starting spot - when Woodson replaced him on March 14. Instead, Lin kept on rolling, leading the Knicks to six wins in seven games before he was hurt.Woodson said he's known of players that have played through meniscus tears, but that only Lin knows his body. Lin knew he would need surgery eventually, but hoped to delay it until after the season."He's elected to have the surgery and we've got to respect that, because only he knows the pain that he's feeling. And there is a problem, so it's got to be fixed," Woodson said.The Knicks had already tried three point guards when they finally turned to Lin, who had been cut by Golden State and Houston before signing with the Knicks. D'Antoni immediately elevated him to the starting lineup after his performance against the Nets, and Lin responded with the greatest beginning stretch ever for a starter.He was the first player with at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five starts since the Elias Sports Bureau began charting starts in 1970. He had a 3-pointer to win a game in Toronto, scored 38 points to outplay Kobe Bryant in a national TV victory over the Lakers, then had 28 points and 14 assists in another nationally televised victory over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.All along, the frenzy around him increased. Commissioner David Stern said he had never seen so much interest created by one player in such a short period of time. Knicks games were picked up by TV stations in basketball-crazed Asia, and Lin actually pleaded for privacy for his family in Taiwan.Lin will be a free agent after the season and said he hopes to return to New York, but otherwise wasn't thinking that far in the future."I'm not even worried about that right now," he said. "It's not like a career-ending thing or it's not something that will bother me. Once it's fixed, it's fixed, it's the most simple surgery you can have and so I'm more concerned about the season."

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

OAKLAND – The shots kept falling, splashing through the net from all over the court, jumpers from 20 feet, from 25, from 30, layups from one side of the bucket, then the other. Klay Thompson was tap-dancing all over the Indiana Pacers.

It didn’t seem logical that a self-respecting NBA team like the Pacers would allow one man to put on a personal showcase, with them as the victims.

That’s precisely what Thompson did Monday night, before the 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, pouring in 60 points – more than he has ever scored in a game, more than anyone in the NBA his scored this season – in a 142-106 crushing of Indiana.

“Klay did do a good job of moving without the ball,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Tonight, he was moving and they were finding him.

“We needed to get more help, and we didn’t. He lit us up.”

In scoring 60 points in only 29 minutes – he exited with 1:22 left in the third quarter and did not return – Thompson found a zone above even the most ethereal zones. He happened upon a place even the most hallowed most NBA players never get the privilege of experiencing.

“That’s a feat I would put money on to probably never be touched ever again in the history of basketball,” said Stephen Curry, the reigning scoring champion as well as back-to-back MVP.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Kevin Durant, the four-time scoring champ who also has an MVP trophy to his name. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

With Thompson raining shots, his teammates standing and clapping and boogieing to the roar of the crowd, the Pacers were helpless witnesses to their own dismantling. As Thompson sizzled, and their defense fizzled, one thing became clear: There would be no double-teaming of the hottest shooter in the NBA this season.

How do you double-team Thompson, who plays mostly without the ball, when he’s sharing the court with Curry and Durant? You don’t. You take your chances and hope. And if Thompson is stroking it, you’re in trouble.

The Pacers tried numerous defenders on Thompson and none was up to the challenge. The Warriors, smelling the Pacers’ futility, went after them with a vengeance.

“You could see that once he got hot, Steph was looking for him and Draymond (Green) and KD and Andre (Iguodala) and Zaza (Pachulia), they were all looking for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“I’ve said this before, but I really believe the strength of our team the last few years offensive is the number of guys that can pass and make plays. What’s really gratifying as a coach is when you see that type of unselfishness.”

By the time Indiana’s superstar, Paul George, took the assignment, trying to cool Thompson, it was well into the third quarter, much too late. Thompson had made 21 of his 33 shots, including eight of his 14 launches from beyond the arc. He had become the first player in the shot-clock era (beginning in 1954-55) to score 60 points in fewer than 30 minutes.

He had hung the Pacers on a wall.

“I will celebrate this tonight,” said Thompson, whose previous career-high was 52 points. “It’s a feat I never really thought I would be able to do growing up.”

Asked if could have scored 80 points, Thompson barely skipped a beat.

“Maybe. I think I could have,” he said. “And maybe one day I will have the opportunity. 60 points in 29 minutes is not bad. I’m satisfied with that.”

His teammates were beyond satisfied. They were delighted. Enchanted. Durant scored 20 points and was agape at Thompson’s performance. Curry had 13 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers and was unusually demonstrative in recapping Thompson’s night.

“We just kept feeding him and feeding him, and he was knocking down some unbelievable shots,” Durant said.

“It was just so much fun to watch,” Curry said. “We appreciate that entertainment value as his teammates to see what he was able to do tonight. It was crazy.”

This was Thompson, taking full and extravagant advantage of both his own shooting skill as well as the benefit of teammates too lethal for any defense to ignore.

All of which left the other 29 teams around the NBA watching and wondering where on earth do they turn if any Thompson or Curry or Durant enters a zone.

This is quite the quandary, and it’s precisely what the Warriors had in mind when they hired Durant.

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – As the Warriors on Monday night celebrated their 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, All-Star guard Klay Thompson gave 19,596 fans an evening they’ll never forget.

Thompson scored 60 points, a career-high for him and the most any player has scored in the NBA this season, to carry the Warriors to a 142-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Thompson scored 17 points in the opening period, 23 in the second – for 40, representing a career-high for points in a half – and closed out his night with 20 in the third quarter.

So hot was Thompson that only no other teammate exceeded 20 points. Kevin Durant totaled 20, Stephen Curry had 13 and Ian Clark finished with 11.

Curry posted a season-high 11 assists, and Draymond Green recorded 10 as the Warriors were credited with 45 helpers overall.

With a 116-83 lead after three quarters, Warriors coach Steve Kerr went to his reserves for the entire fourth quarter.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Thompson, who took possession in the first half and locked it up in third quarter.

Thompson’s line: 60 points (21-of-33 from the field, 8-of-14 from deep, 10-of-11 from the free throw line). He played 29 minutes and finished plus-37 for the night.

TURNING POINT:
When a Monta Ellis layup pulled the Pacers within seven (46-39) with 8:14 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 24-3 run to go up 70-42 with 2:34 remaining in the half.

They went into intermission with an 80-50 lead, and Indiana got no closer than xx for the rest of the game.

The Warriors trailed for all of 12 seconds (in the first five minutes) in the game.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Pacers: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

ROSTER NOTE:
Rookie C Damian Jones is on assignment with D-League Santa Cruz.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors travel to Los Angeles, where on Wednesday night they face the Clippers at Staples Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.