The stars came out to watch Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday as the home team took on the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.
Also on hand was Lin's coach at Paly, Peter Diepenbrock, plus a handful of Lin's former teammates who made the trip despite the fact the game was on national TV.
All were on hand to catch the Linsanity and all went home satisfied after Lin scored 28 points and dished out a career-high 14 assists in a 104-97 victory. He also had four rebounds and seven turnovers, making 11 of 20 field goals -- 3-of-6 from three-point range while playing more than 45 minutes.
Lin also sparked a comeback that saw the Knicks rally from 12 points down in the third quarter, with Lin scoring six unanswered points to get New York to within 75-66. He also made a steal and streaked in for a dunk to cap a 7-0 run to end the period.
Lin dished out four straight assists in the fourth quarter as New York pulled into an 84-80 lead. He nailed his second trey for a 98-93 lead with 2:52 to play and assisted on the final two baskets as the Knicks ended the Mavs' six-game win streak.
"We're just thankful for any win we get," said Lin, who has led the Knights to an 8-1 record since stepping into the lineup on Feb. 4 in a reserve roll. "Obviously, this one is a big one. We're just going to continue building this chemistry."
In a game of wild momentum swings, the Knicks reeled off 17 straight points in the first quarter, fell behind by 12 in the third, then pulled it out to beat Dallas for only the third time in the past 20 meetings. Dirk Nowitzki, last season's MVP, led the Mavs with 34 points.
Lin is now averaging 25 points and 9.2 assists in his past nine games. Since Feb. 4, Lin has scored more points (225) than any other NBA player.
"The game that he had, that's ridiculous," said Knicks' coach Mike D'Antoni of Lin. "The thing you can't teach is what's inside his heart. His heart is huge and you can't teach that."
"They're obviously a great defensive team, a great team altogether," Lin said of Dallas, which double-teamed him throughout the game. "You can't just win a championship by not being a great defensive team. We came out and we moved the ball and we had a lot of people that contributed tonight. Across the board the efficiency was there from everybody. When you play like that on offense and you have a lot of weapons, something's going to open up, something's going to give."
In the postgame, ESPN analyst and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said of Lin: "This guy can play basketball. . . They (the Knicks) had six guys in double figures because of one guy, Jeremy Lin."
Added fellow analyst Jon Barry: "The Knicks can't take him off the floor. It blows me away . . . Jeremy Lin is doing what Steve Nash has been doing all these years. People can't stop him. He does it all."
Lin and the Knicks will be back at Madison Square Garden on Monday to host the New Jersey Nets. The last time Lin faced New Jersey, he scored 25 points and had seven assists and legend of Lin was under way.
"This is a great story," said Johnson. "This could be a great team."
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