WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks have been searching for a point guard to run Mike D'Antoni's offense all season. If Saturday night is any indication, it looks like they had one buried on the bench.
Jeremy Lin ran the Knicks offense with a cool efficiency and seemed to get to the basket at will against New Jersey, scoring 25 points and handing out seven assists in New York's win over their cross-river rivals.
The Knicks won for just the third time in the last 14 games and improved to 9-15.
THE GOOD: It was clear early on that Saturday night was Lin's night. Let's start from the top:
Lin entered the game with 3:35 to go in the first and the Knicks down six. After falling behind by as many as 12, the Knicks trailed by just two at the half, thanks largely to the 23-year-old guard. The former Harvard star finished the half with six points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and one turnover in 15 minutes.
Lin continued to penetrate in the third, finding Tyson Chandler for an alley-oop midway through the quarter and converting a layup while getting fouled with three seconds to play. He hit the subsequent free throw to make it Nets 72, Knicks 70 heading into the fourth.
And he was just warming up. Lin had 12 points and two assists in the fourth. His biggest bucket might have come with 2:03 to play when he got by Deron Williams and down the lane for another layup. The basket gave the Knicks a 95-86 lead and caused the Garden to explode.
On the Knicks' next possession, Lin crossed up Williams again and converted a layup, giving him 25 points, a career-high. His previous high was 13. Lin, the NBA's second Asian-American player, also set career highs in assists and rebounds (five).
THE BAD: Carmelo Anthony struggled with his shot, scoring 11 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
WHAT'S NEXT: On Monday, the Knicks take on a Utah team that entered play on Saturday with a 12-9 record but a 2-5 road mark. Both the Jazz and Knicks will have Sunday off. From there, New York travels to Washington for a Wednesday night tilt and then hosts Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Friday night. The week concludes with a road game Saturday at upstart Minnesota.
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