Young guard able to lift short-handed Knicks at Verizon Center
Against a New York Knicks team missing two All-Stars, the Wizards believed they had a chance for their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Instead they advanced the legend of Jeremy Lin, allowing the undrafted former Harvard standout turned Manhattan basketball savior to transform Verizon Center into Madison Square Garden as he sent the Wizards to their latest embarrassing defeat 107-93 on Wednesday night.
Lin claimed the building as his own when he crossed over John Wall late in third quarter. The Wizards point guard only could stare like his mesmerized teammates who cluelessly failed to provide any help, and everybody watched as Lin soared to the rim for an uncontested slam and a 72-66 lead for the Knicks (11-15).
After Lin finished with 23 points and a career-high 10 assists, Wizards coach Randy Wittman heard from his son, Ryan, who faced Lin while at Cornell.
"He told me they did a much better job than we did tonight," Wittman said. "I already got that text message."
Wall tried to keep the Wizards in it with 29 points and six assists, and Trevor Booker (17 points, seven rebounds) offered some paltry resistance.
Lin got plenty of help from Tyson Chandler (season-high 25 points, 11 rebounds) and Steve Novak (19 points) as five Knicks scored in double figures.
Lin went to the bench after the first eight minutes of the game with zero points, two assists and two personal fouls. But he didn't get much help from his teammates, who were minus Amar'e Stoudemire (bereavement) and Carmelo Anthony (groin). The Knicks missed 18 of their first 24 shots while the Wizards went on a 17-4 run and took a 19-11 lead.
But Lin was transformed in the second quarter, aided by the Wizards (5-21), who couldn't defend Chandler in the lane or Novak (four 3-pointers in the second period) on the perimeter.
After Lin shielded his body for a layup over JaVale McGee (eight points, nine rebounds), he dished to Novak for back-to-back 3s and hit Landry Fields for an alley-oop during a 12-3 run that put New York on top for good.
Lin finished off the quarter with a 17-foot jumper high off the glass to give the visitors an eight-point lead before John Wall's leaner cut the deficit to 52-46 at halftime.