KNICKS 99 NETS 92| MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
When the outcome of the third game in three nights seemed bleak for the Knicks, Jeremy Lin came to the rescue. Yes, Jeremy Lin.
Lin jumped off the pine to light the Madison Square Garden crowd on fire with a career-high 25 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in leading New York to a 99-92 victory over New Jersey on Saturday night.
After the Knicks arrived in New York early Saturday morning following a road loss to Boston, Lin slept on Landry Fields’ couch because he had no place to stay. That night, the reserve guard scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half and helped lift the Knicks over the Nets when they faced a four-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Lin was most effective off the bounce as seen in a crucial play at the 2:03 mark of the final stanza when he split the defense en route to an old fashioned three-point play. He applied heavy pressure on the Nets defense by penetrating the lane and either finding open shooters (seven assists) or finishing at the rim. The impressive aspect to Lin’s career night was the man he blew past on several possessions, Deron Williams.
The remarkable night by the former D-Leaguer was capped off by the hometown crowd chanting J-E-R-E-M-Y and his teammates huddling around him when the final buzzer sounded. The Knicks improved to 9-16 on the season as Tyson Chandler finished with 17 points and nine boards and Amar’e Stoudemire scored 17 points in only 25 minutes of action.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I am still in shock about everything that happened.” – Jeremy Lin
New York recorded a jaw-dropping 60 of its 99 points in the paint on Saturday night.
Clearly, Lin deserves the honor after scoring 12 more points than his previous career-high of 13 against the Lakers in 2010. The point guard connected on 10-of-19 attempts from the floor and hit 5-of-7 free throws. In contrast to his games against Houston and Cleveland, Lin seemed poised at the signal caller spot, which was validated by head coach Mike D’Antoni during the post-game presser. In previous games, Lin would get to the rack with his exceptional speed but fail to finish the bucket. On Saturday, Lin converted those tough baskets in traffic and provided breathing room for Anthony on the perimeter. D’Antoni said he would like to digest the performance before making any decisions on whether Lin will receive the starting nod against Utah on Monday.
The end of the grueling three-game-in-three-nights set is finally over the Knicks as they will enjoy a day off on Super Bowl Sunday. On Monday night, New York hosts the surprising Utah Jazz, who are off to a solid start to the 2011-12 season.