Jeremy Lin needed 27 points to set an NBA record for scoring the most points in the first six starts of his career. He didn't do it. But, he didn't need to.
Instead, the Palo Alto High grad put aside his recent record-setting, eye-opening performances and simply helped his New York Knicks win their seventh straight game, 100-85, over the Sacramento Kings in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
Lin's performance was summed up in his career-high 13 assists -- he simply did what he needed to do to help his team win.
Lin added 10 points on only six shots, but focused more on his role as a distributor while others torched the Kings for 51 percent shooting. Former Stanford standout Landry Fields had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks, who had seven players in double figures.
Lin scored 136 points in his first five starts, most by any NBA player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976. He came into Wednesday's game averaging 27.2 points and 8.8 assists in his past six games with the Knicks. He left averaging 24.4 points and 9.1 assists after seven.
His 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left in Tuesday's game against the host Toronto Raptors allowed the Knicks to pull out a 90-87 victory in a game they trailed nearly the whole way.
Lin didn't need any similar heroics against the Kings as the Knicks (15-15) led almost throughout, evening their record for the first time since they were 6-6 after a loss to Oklahoma City on Jan. 14.
New York will host New Orleans on Friday before hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in a nationally televised (ABC) game.
Lin, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week played 26 minutes, grabbing a seat next to injured Carmelo Anthony -- sharing a few laughs with the All-Star forward -- after exiting for good late in the third quarter.
Lin opened the game with a three-point play, giving him nine straight points dating to late Tuesday, but passed more than shot as the Knicks scored easily in the first half. Lin beat the defense with penetration and dishes to shooters, or by throwing lob passes over the top.
He had a hand in 18 of New York's first 22 points. Lin had six points and nine assists in the first half. He found Fields for a layup that made it a 25-point game early in the third, and the Knicks coasted from there.