It was an odd form of Linsanity, with the Madison Square Garden crowd cheering and then booing Jeremy Lin, but it was Linsanity just the same with Lin scoring 22 points for the Houston Rockets in a 109-96 victory that ended the New York Knicks’ 10-game home winning streak.
Lin was initially greeted warmly in Madison Square Garden, then, as he was putting together one of the kinds of games he used to wow the crowd with last winter, he was booed. He left the game with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left and the Rockets up by 16.
There were fans in Lin’s Knicks jersey (“I was like, ‘wow, that’s really cool,’” he said), but he wasn’t paying too much attention to the crowd. “I’ve moved on, they’ve moved on,” he said. “We have good memories, but at the same time we’re all in a different place now.”
James Harden had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.Chris Copeland led the Knicks, who fell to 18-6 playing without Carmelo Anthony, with 29. Lin was hammered on a flagrant foul to the head by the Tyson Chandler, a move that drew boos. Lin said he thought it was a clean play and the two hugged it out after the game.
“It was a lot of fun playing out there and I think our team, we took a step in the right direction,” Lin, the NBA’s first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent, said. “And for me, it was great to be back and it was a lot of fun to play on that court again.”
Afterward, Knicks Coach Mike Woodson made it clear that, whether he was happy with the decision or not, Linsanity is a thing of the past.
“We wanted Jeremy back and I made that publicly back in the summer,” he said (via the Knicks blog on ESPN New York). “We were going through the recruitment process, but things changed from a business standpoint. And Jeremy decided to take the Houston deal. He has every right to do that. I think as an organization, we’ve moved on.
“I mean, we were able to go out and field guys like [Jason] Kidd, Pablo [Prigioni] and Raymond [Felton], and we’re excited about those three guys that we fielded, because they’ve come in here and they put us in this position in terms of our record, and sitting at the top of our division. It’s no knock against Jeremy; he did what he had to do making his decision and we’ve done what we had to do and we wish him nothing but the best until he plays the Knicks. And that’s it.”
Lin moves on to the next game. “I’m glad it’s over,” he said before joining friends and family in the stands, “just because, in some ways, I wanted closure.”
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