Houston Rockets Explosion on New York Knicks Shows Jeremy Lin Move Was Win-Win

Rocky SamuelsCorrespondent IINovember 23, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets drives past Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks at the Toyota Center on November 23, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, bagainst the Newy downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The first matchup between the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks was billed as a test for Jeremy Lin.

But it ended up being a showcase for a young team with bona fide playoff potential and, at least on this night, explosive offensive production.

Last year, the Knicks caught "Linsanity," a fever of fan fervor that went viral with every acrobatic Lin finish at the rim.

Against the Rockets, the Knicks looked like they had been infected with whatever athletic malaise has overcome their lowly football counterparts, the New York Jets.  

On Thanksgiving evening, the Jets lost to the Patriots 49-19. 

The next night, the Rockets were just a field goal shy of beating the Knicks by the same margin. The Rockets tied a Toyota Center record for most points scored, with a 131-103 victory.

Indeed, the normally stout Knick defense became as supple as the 2011 version of Raymond Felton's belly. The newly-trim Felton had a typically solid showing: 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, including 4-6 from the three-point line.

But this game won't help decisively sway the referendum on whether the Knicks should have let Lin go in favor of Felton.

In fact, the Rocket drubbing of the Knicks may be evidence of the most unlikely of basketball results from the Lin move to Houston and the related Knick acquisitions of Felton and Jason Kidd.  

In a zero-sum sport with winners and losers, the Lin trade is beginning to look like a win-win proposition.

Lin has protected the ball well this season, cutting down on turnovers, and has passed with alacrity and effectiveness.

His shooting has been terrible, but he made strides against the Knicks, going 6-for-12 from the floor, including a rare Lin achievement of late; a three-pointer.

But the Knicks are not pining for the halcyon days of Linsanity.

The combination of Felton's impressive all-around game and Kidd's ancient basketball wisdom have made the Knicks serious (albeit early) contenders for the Eastern Conference title—the recent Rocket shellacking notwithstanding.

Lin, for his part, is clearly in a supporting role with his new team.

"Beardsanity" outgrew "Linsanity" before the latter even had time to get off the ground in Houston.

James Harden is the Rockets indisputable main man, as he demonstrated in a 33-point performance against the Knicks. 

And the the Knicks vs. Rockets matchup also unveiled the budding All-Star potential of the NBA's most youthful veteran, Chandler Parsons, who in only his second year in the league is one of the few returning Rockets from last year's squad. 

Parsons improbably went toe-to-toe with the Knicks' heavyweight scorer, Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony was in typically prolific form, scoring 37 points on 14-for-24 shooting, and connecting on seven of his fourteen three-point attempts.

But Parsons also lit up the scoreboard with 31 points, and had a highly efficient 13-for-17 field goal mark, which included 4-for-7 three pointers.  

Rocket center Omer Asik added to the overflow of Rocket offense, throwing in a ridiculous stat line of 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Indeed, against the Knicks, the Rockets had an embarrassment of riches.

But this young team will need to keep investing diligently at both ends of the floor to get the ultimate payoff; a playoff spot in the West.