Happy Birthday Linsanity!: Remembering the Game That Started It All

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 26:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets celebrates a play on the court during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Toyota Center on January 26, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by 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

Thanks to a few months in New York a year ago, Jeremy Lin was able to sign a big contract with the Houston Rockets, team up with James Harden and form one half of a very intriguing duo. That two-month stretch started on February 4th, a year ago today.

The New York Knicks were 8-15, had used their amnesty provision on Chauncey Billups before the season started and were hoping that Baron Davis would be back soon to give them some sort of production at the point guard spot.

Lin came off the bench that night and posted 25 points, along with five rebounds and seven assists.

He's started every game he's played in since.

That night, Lin came in off the bench in the first quarter with Mike D'Antoni looking for anything to spice up the Knicks offense.

Initially, nothing special happened. He had a few assists and a few points here and there, and he ended up with six points and four assists at halftime with the Knicks trailing 48-46.

Another productive (by his standards at the time) quarter in the third kept the Knicks in the game and itching for a win. At the beginning of the fourth, he boasted 13 points and five assists, which would have easily been a game in the running for the best of his career.

The fourth quarter was his, however.

Jeremy came away from the fourth quarter with 12 of New York's 29 points, including six of the final eight points that would put the game out of reach.

The coming out party against New Jersey wasn't the most impressive game of his stretch with the Knicks, but it was a stepping stone, and an opportunity for Lin to prove that he could be a solid point guard in the NBA.

It was just one game before Carmelo Anthony would fall to a strained groin, an injury that would take him out for the next two weeks.

Lin took over in those two weeks. He scored 28 points against the Utah Jazz, 38 against the Los Angeles Lakers and nailed a game-winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors en route to New York's seven-game winning streak.

It's really an amazing story even looking back on it. This was a guy who couldn't impress coaches and scouts well enough to stay out of the D-League for more than a handful of games at a time, let alone get playing time.

A player who was a legitimate diamond in the rough, who was only seeing the court out of borderline reckless desperation by Mike D'Antoni, was able to use the opportunity he was given to go out and make a career for himself.

From sleeping on couches to hitting game-winning shots, Lin has completely transformed his career and carved himself a nice role in Houston thanks, in part, to one terrific game off the bench against the New Jersey Nets.


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