- (Photo: Reuters/Andrew Innerarity)
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks starting point guard, and his team are running out of time to save their hopes for a playoff run this season and quite possibly their coach's job.
Lin, the 23-year-old Harvard graduate who helped his team rise to a seven-game winning streak, has now led the team to five consecutive losses. The Knicks are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would take them to the playoffs if the regular season ended today.
However, the regular season will end on April 26, which could potentially give the Knicks time to blow their playoff spot. In the Eastern Conference, five teams are within five wins of the New York Knicks. The Milwaukee Bucks are only two wins away from taking the No. 8 seed away from New York, while the Cleveland Cavaliers also need two wins to secure the final playoff spot.
Since only eight teams can make it to the playoffs from the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively, the Knicks must win their next few games to secure their playoff position early.
However, the team's coach may have bigger issues.
Mike D'Antoni, Knicks coach who is in the last year of his contract, has been the subject of rumors about his current team opting out of resigning him if the team has a losing season. However, many people thought Lin would be the answer to some of the team's issues this season.
Charles Barkley, NBA Hall-of-Famer and commentator, spoke on ESPN radio about the "Linsanity" phenomenon that accompanied the starting point guard and its impact on D'Antoni's future with the Knicks organization.
"I think Jeremy Lin did save his job because they were going nowhere fast," Barkley said in February, when the Knicks were on a winning streak. "They were really going nowhere fast."
However, after a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, the Knicks' home crowd in Madison Square Garden began chanting "Fire D'Antoni." The coach spoke to the New York Post about the team's urgency to begin winning again.
"This is serious. It should be," D'Antoni said after the team lost to the Philadelphia on Sunday. "I just think there's too many lapses and our defense has been slipping."
Lin, who has been open about his Christian faith, took to his Twitter account after the loss to plead with fans for their support. He also used a Scripture to reflect what the team was going through.
"Romans 12:12-- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer," Lin tweeted. "Stay with us Knicks nation! Ill be better and we will improve as a team. Time to turn things around."
The Knicks will play the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls, on Monday night.