Linsanity has officially hit New York.
After netting 25 points and seven assists on Saturday, Lin again dazzled in his first start on Monday, scoring 28 points with eight assists - both career- highs - to lead the undermanned Knicks past the Utah Jazz, 99-88.
"I just have nothing but gratitude and thankfulness right now," said Lin. "This one was ugly and we lost a couple of players, but this team has a lot of will."
Lin's heroics were unexpected but necessary, as Amare Stoudemire missed the game following the tragic death of his brother, while Carmelo Anthony left the game just minutes into the contest with a strained groin.
Stoudemire will again miss tonight's contest, while Anthony was re-evaluated on Tuesday and will miss 1-to-2 weeks.
"We're going to have to create our own energy, and with Amare and Melo out we're going to have to play together and we're going to have rough stretches," Lin said. "But we're going to have to play gutsy and ugly at times to get the win.
"You can't replace [Anthony]. We're going to have to have people step up, and it's going to have to be everyone. It's not going to be one person scoring 20 points. It's going to be two points here and two points there. Everyone's going to have to do a little bit extra. Obviously we don't have that same star power right now."
Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, may have been the one bringing Madison Square Garden to its feet, but he wasn't the only unheralded contributor on Monday. Seldom used Steve Novak totaled 19 points in a reserve role, while Jared Jeffries added 13 points and Bill Walker had 11.
"You never know who can step up. It only takes one guy to step up and all of a sudden everything turns and I think that's the way we're feeling around here now," center Tyson Chandler said. "Jeremy stepped up and put guys back in their natural positions and all of a sudden our offense is flowing."
An undrafted point guard from Harvard, Lin spent some time with Golden State last year before being released by the Warriors this summer. He was also cut loose by the Houston Rockets prior to the start of the year before catching on with the Knicks.
"I'm riding him like freakin' Secretariat," head coach Mike D'Antoni said of his new point guard.
The Knicks, though, are still just 10-15 on the year and a mere 4-8 on the road. New York returns home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday before hitting the road again to face both Minnesota and Toronto.
Washington, meanwhile, enters on a rare winning note after topping the Raptors in overtime on Monday. John Wall scored a game-high 31 points and the Wizards held on for a 111-108 win.
"We just kind of fell in line behind him," said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman about Wall's play. "That is as good a game that I've had with him that he's played on both ends of the floor."
The victory was the first in five games for the Wizards, who lost to the Knicks back in early January in D.C. In fact New York has won seven straight and 11 of the last 13 in the series.