Jeremy Lin leads Houston Rockets' rout over New York Knicks
Knicks lose out as Linsanity rules once more at Madison Square Garden
Jeremy Lin will never forget that brief, beautiful stretch of basketball known as Linsanity.
His first trip back to Madison Square Garden was memorable, too.
Lin had 22 points and eight assists in his return to New York, leading the Houston Rockets to a 109-96 victory that ended the Knicks' 10-game home winning streak to open the season.
The undrafted point guard from Harvard said before the game that he would always remember his breakthrough, no matter how long he played. But he wasn't thinking about it on Monday, even as he put together a good imitation of it.
"I've moved on, they've moved on," Lin said. "We have good memories, but at the same time we're all in a different place now."
Cheered then jeered, and later floored by Tyson Chandler's flagrant foul, Lin added another masterpiece to the ones he compiled last season during the height of his memorable run. No longer the fan favourite he was when wearing the home uniform, Lin got a mixed reception when he left the game with 2:25 remaining and the Rockets leading by 16.
"It was a lot of fun playing out there and I think our team, we took a step in the right direction," Lin said. "And for me, it was great to be back and it was a lot of fun to play on that court again."
James Harden had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who blew out the Knicks for the second time this season. They have won the past seven meetings, including a 131-103 rout in Houston on November 23.
Rookie Chris Copeland scored a career-high 29 points for the Knicks, who played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony and had their four-game winning streak snapped. They fell to 18-6, matching the record they had under Mike Woodson after he replaced Mike D'Antoni on March 14 last season. Woodson's team decided not to match Houston's contract offer to Lin.
But Lin was the best point guard on the floor, just as he so often was during his dazzling run last winter, when the NBA's first American-born player of Chinese descent went from undrafted benchwarmer to the biggest story in basketball.
"He had a good game, without a doubt," the Knicks' Raymond Felton said. "I never talked junk about Jeremy Lin. Anything I said about Jeremy, I felt like he deserved anything. He deserved everything he got. He had a good game. Plain and simple."