Lin is so money; does he even know it?

The last time the Knicks were in Boston, Jeremy Lin was little more than an end-of-the-bench afterthought -- and New York was a team in crisis mode.

The Knicks had lost 10 of 12 and were six games under .500 when they took the TD Garden floor against the Celtics on Feb. 3. Fans and media were calling for coach Mike D'Antoni's head and Lin was on the verge of being cut for the third time in two months.

The situation is dramatically different -- both for Lin and his team -- as the Knicks and Celtics prepare to meet again in Boston on Sunday.

Lin emerged from anonymity, averaging 20.9 points, 8.4 assists and 2.1 steals in February. He led the Knicks back to .500, drew the attention of the nation and gave New York's long-suffering fan base a renewed sense of hope.

"Just about changed everything," center Tyson Chandler said recently.

But has everything changed Lin? Have the attention and adulation gotten to his head?

"He's been the same person," Baron Davis said. "He respects the game. My hat goes off to him. For all the Linsanity and all the media hype that's going on, he's pretty much remained the same."

Jerome Jordan -- who was sent to the D-League on Friday -- is one of Lin's closest friends on the Knicks. He said "success hasn't changed him a bit."

D'Antoni says his Harvard-educated point guard is "too smart" to change.

Veteran forward Jared Jeffries says Lin "is the exact same guy he was before all of this."

Chandler agrees.

"He hasn't changed at all. I think if anything he's just more hungry and excited about the opportunity," Chandler said. "Just a few weeks ago he was just fighting, fighting for his love and his passion to play basketball."

A few weeks ago, Lin's fight looked like it was in the 12th round. And the 23-year-old was on the verge of losing it by decision.

The reeling Knicks were in Boston to face the Celtics. In five days, they'd face a deadline to guarantee Lin's contract or release him. So D'Antoni planned to play Lin that night to see if he was worth retaining.

The second-year guard struggled, going 0-for-3 with two rebounds, one turnover and one assist in 6½ minutes. He was buried on the bench in the second half of New York's 91-89 loss.

"I remember ... just hoping that it wouldn't be my last chance," Lin said.

His agent, Roger Montgomery, told ESPNNewYork.com recently that he was preparing for that possibility.

"We weren't sure what was going to happen," Montgomery said.

Interim GM Glen Grunwald and his staff considered letting Lin go.

"We were evaluating what we were going to do with our team," Grunwald said last month. "We were looking at a number of options."

They decided to give Lin another shot the next night against the Nets. He shocked everyone with a 25-point, seven-assist night in the Knicks' 99-92 win.

"The rest is history," Montgomery said.

Indeed. Lin led New York to seven straight wins, changing the course of the season and, possibly, saving D'Antoni's job.

New York has won 10 of 13 since Lin started playing major minutes. During that span, his tangible effect on the team is undeniable:

• The Knicks are shooting 47.5 percent when he's on the floor and just 37 percent when he's on the bench, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

• They've scored 103.8 points per 100 possessions with Lin running the show and an average of 90.2 with him off the floor.

• The Knicks are also defending better (98.5 points allowed per 100 possessions pre-Lin; 95.7 since).

"He's been phenomenal," D'Antoni said.

Lin will make his 13th career start in Boston on Sunday, the same place his Knicks career nearly ended a little more than four weeks ago.

Of course, everything has changed for Lin since that Friday night in Boston. Everything, that is, except for Lin himself.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.