Rapid Reaction: Rockets 109, Knicks 106

NEW YORK -- Linsanity might be dead and gone, but Jeremy Lin still owns Madison Square Garden.

Lin and the Houston Rockets weathered a big game from Carmelo Anthony to walk off the floor with a win on Thursday. Lin is 2-0 at the Garden since he left the Knicks for Houston in the summer of 2012.

Oh, Melo: Anthony did all he could to lift the Knicks (3-5) to a win. He finished with a season-high 45 points and 10 rebounds and hit what appeared to be a game-tying 3 with five seconds left. The shot was waived off because officials ruled that James Harden fouled Anthony on the floor. Anthony hit both free throws to bring the Knicks within one with five seconds to go. Harden knocked down two free throws on the other end and J.R. Smith missed a prayer from inside half court at the final buzzer.

Linsanity lives: Lin certainly had several big moments in his second game at the Garden since leaving town for Houston.

The ex-Knick had nine fourth-quarter points, including a dunk off a fast break with 10 minutes to play that quieted the crowd and a deep jumper over Anthony's outstretched arm to put Houston up seven with about nine minutes to go.

Lin, coming off a 34-point, 12-assist performance in an overtime loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday, finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Houston's Harden also crushed the Knicks. He finished with 36 points and nine rebounds. He had 16 points from the free throw line.

Bargnani better than Superman: Raise your hand if you thought Andrea Bargnani would outplay Dwight Howard on Thursday? Didn't think so.

But that's how it played out for the Knicks. Bargnani had his best game at Madison Square Garden to date, finishing with 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting and and four rebounds. Bargnani stood toe-to-toe with Howard, blocking his shot twice in the second half. He and Kenyon Martin held Howard to just one shot attempt in the first half. Howard finished with seven points and 15 rebounds. But Howard came through for Houston late in the game, hitting both of his free throws after gathering an offense rebound to put the Rockets up five with 1:07 to play.

Where's Amar'e?: It was easy to overlook, but Amar'e Stoudemire played just five minutes against Houston. He was scoreless, missing all three of his field goals. Mike Woodson turned to Martin in Stoudemire's place. The veteran power forward played 10 minutes, finishing with three rebounds.

What's next: The Knicks will likely take the day off Friday to prepare for Saturday's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

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