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The Knicks may have bid good riddance to Jeremy Lin last summer, but the man and the myth behind Linsanity insists he had the ātime of my lifeā during his whirlwind rise to stardom earlier this year in New York.
There clearly remains a magical connection for Lin at the Garden, as the previously slumping point guard torched the Knicks for 22 points and eight assists Monday night in his first trip back since signing with the Rockets as a free agent in July.
PHOTOS: GARDEN STILL JEREMY’S LIN-TER WONDERLAND
āWeāre just thankful to get the win. But it was a lot of fun to play out there,ā Lin said after Houstonās 109-96 victory. āFor me, it was great to be back and it was a lot of fun to play on that court again.ā
Lin hadnāt played in New York since injuring his left knee on March 24, requiring surgery that forced him to miss the stretch run and the Knicksā first-round playoff loss to Miami last spring. That turned out to be the end of the Harvard productās improbable seven-week ascension into cult-hero status, as the Knicks declined to match Houstonās cap-unfriendly and back-loaded three-year offer worth $25 million.
They instead brought back Raymond Felton and signed veteran Jason Kidd to complement star forward Carmelo Anthony in a largely revamped playing rotation, and the moves have translated to an 18-6 record.
āWeāve talked about that part of the story for a while, but everything happens for a reason,ā Lin said. āGoing into the summer I thought Iād be coming back to New York, but everything happens for a reason and there are no hard feelings either way. Right now Iām in a different place in my life, a different chapter, a different city and with a different team.ā
Lin is averaging a pedestrian 11.3 points ā on 40% Michael Kors Leather Handbags shooting ā and six assists for the 12-12 Rockets, who also are still adjusting to the addition of scoring guard James Harden from Michael Kors Wallet Sale Oklahoma Michael Kors Tote Sale City late in training camp.
Still, Rockets coach Kevin McHale believes in Lin, who also had been in training camp with Houston following the 2011 lockout before āhe really just explodedā with the Knicks.
Before the game, the Hall of Famer said he believes āthe whole āLinsanityā thing was probably a little muchā for Lin to handle. Following Mondayās victory, however, McHale observed that Lin āfelt comfortable here at the Garden.ā
Indeed, while former Knicks coach Mike DāAntoni was resoundingly booed during his return to MSG last week with the Lakers, the 24-year-old Lin received nothing but cheers and a partial standing ovation during pregame introductions.
Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
Chandler hits Lin hard early in the game.
Of course, he also was typically booed every time he touched the ball once the game began. āIt was actually a lot better than I (expected)ā Lin said.
As for his former teammates, Lin hugged each of the Knicksā five starters before the opening tap. But he received one hard āwelcome backā when Tyson Chandler leveled him and drew a flagrant foul for a smack to the head on one Lin drive in the second quarter.
āI totally understand. When someone comes in your lane you want to make sure they think twice about coming back. He hit me hard, but I still kept coming. It was fun. It was friendly. It wasnāt malicious. I got to talk to him after the game. Tyson was like a big brother to me last year. So it Michael Kors Kingsbury Tote was fun to play a game (against) him.ā
It also clearly was enjoyable for Lin to play against the Knicks in the arena that made him famous. He reminisced about the experience on Monday.
āIt was the time of my life, just being able to play basketball and for us to win games and to do it in the fashion that we did it,ā Lin said. āItās definitely something Iāll remember forever. It will always have a special place for me no matter how long I play because Sale Michael Kors Handbags that Michael Kors East West Tote was the beginning for me. Any time you have a stretch like that, you will always remember it forever.ā
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