Jeremy Lin made his return to Madison Square Garden count, scoring 22 points and adding eight assists in 109-96 Rockets win over the Knicks on Monday night. Lin, who left New York for Houston as a free agent this offseason, looked like the same player who ignited Linsanity last year and along with 28 points from James Harden, helped his new squad down his old team.
Lin wasn't welcomed back to New York, where the crowd greeted him with boos when he touched the ball. It clearly didn't bother Lin, who scored the Rockets' first points of the game and was only slowed temporarily by a hard Tyson Chandler foul. When Lin got to the rim in the second quarter, Chandler came across and clocked the point guard, sending him hard to the floor and earning a flagrant foul. But Lin wasn't fazed and continued to wreak havoc on the Knicks' defense.
Harden provided Lin plenty of help, destroying an overmatched Jason Kidd. He got to the rim seemingly at will and was a force on the boards, adding 10 rebounds.
The Knicks actually led after the first quarter, but Houston held New York to just 11 points in the second quarter and put the game away before halftime. Playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks struggled to find a rhythm offensively after the first quarter. Chris Copeland, who started in Anthony's place, had a huge game and led New York in scoring with 29 points, but that was the only bright spot for the Knicks' offense.
With the New York offense sputtering, the Knicks were helpless as Linsanity returned to the Garden, much to the chagrine of the crowd, but the delight of the now 12-12 Rockets.