Linsanity indeed. New York Knicks' fans are going crazy over Palo Alto High grad Jeremy Lin for good reason.
Lin made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with .5 seconds to play to cap his finishing flurry of six straight points, and the New York Knicks rallied to beat the host Toronto Raptors, 90-87, extending their winning streak to six games on Tuesday night.
Lin finished with 27 points and a career-high 11 assists in his first game since being named Eastern Conference player of the week. He made 9-of-20 field goals, 7-of-11 free throws, grabbed two rebounds, had three block assists and committed no fouls.
In his past six games, Lin has averaged 26.8 and 8.5 assists.
"He's just phenomenal right now," said the Knicks' Amare Stoudemire, who returned from a four-game absence with 21 points and Tyson Chandler had 13 for New York, which rallied from 17 points down with a 24-12 fourth-quarter advantage.
"He continues to impress every night," said New York forward Jared Jeffries. "Every game he plays better, he does more and more to help us win basketball games. You can't ask any more of a kid coming into this situation."
The season-high crowd of 20,092 roared as Lin drained a pull-up jumper from the top with under a second to play, giving the Knicks their first lead since the opening quarter. Lin also produced a three-point play with 1:05 to play that tied the game at 87.
Toronto's Rasual Butler airballed his attempt at the buzzer as the Knicks swarmed their newest hero at center court.
The Raptors had a photo of Lin on their team website in the hours before the game, and his visit generated major interest among Toronto's Asian community, estimated at over 280,000 people, or more than 11 percent of the local population.
The Chinese Canadian Youth Athletics Association and the Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto both sent groups of almost 300 fans as Toronto sold out for the second time in 13 home games. One group of fans in the upper deck wore white T-shirts spelling out Lin's name.
Not all the fans were so positive: Lin was booed several times throughout the game.
Local media also took note; some 75 reporters and 16 cameras packed a Tuesday morning press conference to hear Lin speak, with dozens more turned away to prevent overcrowding. More than 25 Chinese Canadian journalists were due to cover the game, including one who presented Lin with a book of "Year of the Dragon" stamps from Canada Post and asked him to record a message in Mandarin, which he did.