The New York Knicks are set to see what "Linsanity" looks like from the other side.
Looking to bounce back from only their second loss of the season, the Knicks wrap a three-game road trip on Friday night against Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets.
Once on the brink of being out of the league, Lin became an overnight sensation in New York last season when he saw his minutes increase in early February. He responded by logging at least 20 points nine times over a 10-game stretch from Feb. 4-20, a span in which the Knicks went 8-2 with a six-game winning streak.
The undrafted Harvard product, who had been waived by the Rockets before the start of the season, had his campaign cut short after 35 games (25 starts) due to a knee injury and averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game.
A restricted free agent, Lin's popularity seemed to have him destined to return to the Knicks, but the Rockets signed him to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet that included a $14.8 million salary in the final season of the deal that was known as a "poison pill." The Knicks opted not to match and Lin became a Rocket.
Friday, the Knicks and Lin will square off for the first time this season.
"I'm just going to keep playing -- it's a blessing. ...I'm going to go out there on Friday and just play my heart out and just try to approach it the same," Lin said of facing the Knicks.
New York has been just fine this season without Lin, opening the campaign with a 6-0 mark and bringing an 8-2 record into this meeting. The Knicks are coming off a loss at the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday as they allowed a season-high in points in a 114-111 defeat.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring for the ninth time in 10 games this season with 23 points, while Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler were both solid in their return to Dallas. The duo were part of the Mavericks' title-winning team in 2011 and Kidd posted a season-best 17 points along with six rebounds, five assists and five steals on Wednesday.
Chandler ended with 21 points and 13 rebounds for a Knicks club that trailed by 12 early the fourth but got to within one with 1:15 to play. Anthony, though, missed a jumper in the final seconds that would have given New York the lead.
"(The Mavericks) did a good job, especially on that last play," said Chandler. "I tried to get them off of Carmelo, but they played excellent defense. They really forced us into some tough shots down the stretch."
Houston is two games below .500, but snapped a three-game slide with Wednesday's 93-89 win over the Chicago Bulls despite 23 turnovers. Lin had five of those giveaways and six were lost by James Harden, but he made up for it with 28 points and a career high-tying five steals in over 42 minutes of action.
That came after Harden had been limited to six points and 17 1/2 minutes in Houston's previous game due to illness.
"I think defensively we played pretty well. That's what kept us in the game," Harden said. "I think offensively, at times, we struggled. Our defense really locked in at key moments in the game and even down the stretch."
Patrick Patterson chipped in a season-high 20 points and Chandler Parsons amassed 18 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for Houston, while Lin ended with just four points and three assists in 26 minutes.
Through 12 games with the Rockets, Lin is averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 assists per game.
"I'm a little disappointed in myself but it's just a matter of continuing to fight and continuing to get better. No one wants to have a stretch like I've been having, a slump or what not, but that's part of the game," noted Lin.
Lin will try to extend the Rockets' five-game winning streak over the Knicks. Houston has also won 13 of its last 14 over New York and hasn't lost at home to the club since Nov. 18, 2004. It has won seven straight as the host since, including a 97-84 triumph in the lone meeting between the clubs last season.