Madison Square Garden gave a rousing ovation to former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin as he returned to New York draped in a Rockets jersey. The cheers turned into boos, as Lin put on a show against his former team.
Lin finished the night with 22 points, eight assists, two steals, four rebounds, and a 109-96 Rockets win.
The first two points of the game were scored by Lin, and he never looked back.
The Rockets were coming off a bad loss in Toronto that saw Lin score a woeful seven points, in 32 minutes. It almost felt like his mind was in New York, and the Raptors game was just in his way.
Judging from his performance tonight, “Linsanity” was well prepared. In just his first 10 minutes back at “MSG,” Lin racked up eight points, and three assists, as the ovations quickly turned into boos.
By halftime Lin had 16 points, four assists, and two rebounds. That was his best first half of the season as a Houston Rocket.
For a guy who was averaging a measly 9.6 points per game, and shooting below 40% on the season, Lin proved why he could be a long term starting point guard for this young Rockets team. He proved that under a pressure filled situation, he once again could rise up and accept the challenge, as he did game after game with the Knicks last season.
Another thorn in the backside of the Rockets has been the chemistry between James Harden, and Lin. While Harden has individually found success, the two have not found a comfortable balance yet. Tonight was a huge step forward.
Lin and Harden combined for 50 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals. Tonight proved the potential this backcourt has, along with the quest for consistency.
“We complemented each other really well,” Lin told the media. “It is important for us to be aggressive and pick our spots.”
The win ended a seven-game road losing streak for the Rockets. It also was the first home loss of the season for the Knicks, ending what could have been an 11-0 home start, the best since the 1991-92 season.
The Rockets have swept the season series against the Knicks, and continue to hover around the .500 mark, as the playoffs remain the goal for the youngest team in the NBA.