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The Sixth Man: Lin proving the skeptics wrong

If an unproven scriptwriter took Jeremy Lin's story to Hollywood a month ago, he would have probably been thrown out on his ear.

"Too unrealistic, kid," a jaded Tinseltown exec likely would have told the young scribe.

After all, a skinny Asian-American kid from Harvard outdueling Kobe Bryant in Madison Square Garden? The Looney Tunes beating the Monstars in "Space Jam" was more realistic.

But there was Lin last Friday dismantling Kobe and the mighty Lakers, using his smarts, savvy and craftiness to find seam after seam in a defense manned by a couple of lengthy 7-footers in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

The former Reno Bighorn and Erie Bayhawk dropped in a career-high 38 points and dished out seven assists in a 92-85 Knicks win over L.A., one that snapped New York's nine-game skid to the Lakers.

In fact, Lin has done something in less than a week that a five-time NBA All- Star couldn't do in a year -- he made the Knicks his team.

Neither Carmelo Anthony nor Amare Stoudemire have resembled anything but overpriced square pegs being pounded into a round hole night after night by a coach, Mike D'Antoni, who longs for the days of Steve Nash running his seven- seconds-or-less offense.

When Rick Pitino was stinking it up in Boston a number of years ago, he once snapped at reporters after a frustrating loss, saying, "Larry Bird isn't walking through that door. Kevin McHale isn't walking through that door." The implication was clear -- no one was coming to save Pitino or his Celtics, they would have to do it themselves.

In a similar vein, Nash wasn't coming to save D'Antoni and Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert and Baron Davis proved incapable. The status quo had the Knicks floundering at 8-15 and perhaps the most disappointing team in all of basketball.

Only desperation gave Lin his chance and in seven days this unlikely protagonist took an overpaid, under-performing roster and turned them into a possible championship contender.

"It's a completely different team," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said when talking about Lin's impact. "You can't look at this team the same. He's not a fluke."

LeBron never came to save the day in Gotham, but an econ major who could have served as an extra in "The Social Network" did.

Scouts who missed the boat on Lin are already trying to poke holes in his game. Most detractors point that a lockout-truncated season short on practice time has rendered coaches unable to implement ways to stop Lin.

Once they figure out his jumper isn't reminiscent of Dell Curry's, or that his lateral movement isn't exactly Tony Allen-esqe, things will start to change.

Lin isn't Pete Maravich, so the numbers are going to settle down at some point, especially when the Knicks' resident ball-stopper is back in the lineup. That said, understand anyone who can put together four straight games of 20-plus points, six-plus assists and 50 percent shooting at the NBA level has talent.

"I don't know what to tell you," D'Antoni gushed. "I have never seen this. What he's doing is amazing."

Talent, however, doesn't guarantee an opportunity and Lin's long winding road to success is more than a bit of an indictment on the NBA's system for judging its players.

I wish I could say I saw it coming.

But, an Asian-American kid out of Harvard who can play with Kobe Bryant?

Get out of my office.