Hornets try to stop Lin, Knicks at MSG

Some think New Orleans will put an end to the Lin-sanity that has engulfed New York City on Friday. Others think it will eventually be Carmelo Anthony.

The thought was Jeremy Lin and Anthony could be in the starting lineup together tonight as the Knicks shoot for an eighth straight win against the Hornets in Madison Square Garden.

However, Anthony was ruled out again on Friday morning as he continues to recover from a strained right groin. New York coach Mike D'Antoni said the All-Star could be available Sunday when Dallas visits Gotham.

New York's recent resurgence, of course, has coincided with Lin's rise from obscurity along with Anthony's absence from the lineup.

Lin continued his unlikely surge Wednesday, setting a career-high in assists for the second straight day and handing out nine of his 13 helpers in the first half, as the Knicks built a big lead on the way to a 100-85 win over the Sacramento Kings.

New York has won seven games in a row for the first time since last season, all with big contributions from the former benchwarmer and new starting point guard.

Wednesday's runaway win came one night after Lin, with a then-career high 11 assists, kept the ball himself and buried a game-winning three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left in Toronto.

He only played three quarters against Sacramento, scoring 10 points and sitting the entire fourth in a lopsided win.

"That's great on a night like that," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. "The next game he might score 30. Whatever we need to win, he'll do."

The Knicks had seven scorers in double figures and improved to 15-15, reaching .500 for the first time since they were 6-6 after a loss at Oklahoma City on January 14.

Amare Stoudemire had 11 points in his second game back and Landry Fields led New York with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

"We need to make sure we put our egos aside," said Lin. "When we put our egos aside and buy into coach D'Antoni's system, we're going to win."

Those "egos" could be amped up when Anthony finally does return. The superstar has been a disappointment since arriving from Denver at last season's trading deadline, often being called a "ball-stopper" and criticized for not allowing his teammates to get involved with the offense,

Lin, on the other hand, has been able to score and distribute, compiling 136 points in his first five starts -- the most by any player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976 -- and dishing out the career-best 13 assists vs. Sacramento.

"I know I'm not a selfish player. People around me know I'm not a selfish player," Anthony told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. "I do everything I can to make people around me understand I'm not a selfish player."

The Hornets, meanwhile, opened up a six-game road trip in Milwaukee on Wednesday by earning a 92-89 win. Marco Belinelli led the Hornets in that one with 22 points as New Orleans snapped a six-game road losing streak.

Chris Kaman added a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza netted 14 points for the Hornets, who have won two straight after dropping 23 of their previous 25.

"We're a fighting team," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "We have a little bit of grit about us. It's too bad you don't have a stat for heart and intensity."

NOLA, which will also visit Oklahoma City, Indiana, Cleveland and Chicago on its trek, is just 3-9 on the road this season and has lost six straight games to New York. The Hornets have dropped three in a row and 14 of 20 at MSG.