NEW YORK, USA, February 17 – Jeremy Lin tries to continue his magical run with the New York Knicks on Friday as the NBA club tries to stretch its win streak to eight games by defeating the lowly New Orleans Hornets at home.
The Knicks have only defeated one team with a winning record since turning to Lin on an emergency basis and having the 23-year-old point guard, the first US-born player of Taiwanese and Chinese heritage, dazzle the NBA.
Lin scored 38 points to lead the Knicks over the Los Angeles Lakers, the one winning team the Knicks have downed in their run to a 15-15 season mark, and he passed out 13 assists in a rout of Sacramento on Wednesday.
Mike Bair, president of MSG Media, has seen Knicks viewership jump 70 percent since the player’s impact began with a 550 percent increase in website hits.
NBA online sales are up 3,000 percent since Lin began playing and demand for his jersey is larger than production.
“Put it this way, they’re flying off the shelves — and we can barely keep up with the demand,” Bair said.
The Hornets know the buzz at Madison Square Garden is not about them, even though they are on a two-game win streak after losing eight in a row. Their 6-23 record is the second-worst in the NBA, ahead of only Charlotte.
But ticket resale prices at Madison Square Garden have skyrocketed due to Lin. It does not help that a spat between Time Warner cable and Knicks telecasters MSG has kept Knicks games off TV screens in much of New York.
Lin’s unlikely story of being undrafted out of Harvard and cut by NBA clubs Golden State and Houston before his last-chance star turn with the Knicks has captured the imagination of fans.
“There are a lot of schools and a lot of NBA teams kicking themselves right now,” said Ed Gor, an executive with the San Francisco-based Chinese American Citizens Alliance.
“He’s every Asian parent’s dream, a Harvard finance graduate and an NBA star.”
Lin had his chance after the Knicks lost Carmelo Anthony to a groin injury and Amare Stoudemire was absent mourning his brother’s death in a car crash.
Lin has adapted his game to allow for Stoudemire’s return and is confident he will do the same when Anthony returns, which is expected on Sunday when the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks visit New York.
“It’s actually a phenomenon without precedence, and I’m enjoying it for him, for our league and the Knicks,” NBA Commissioner David Stern told USA Today. “It’s what happens when you have unscripted drama.
“The issue of most importance to me is the issue of how many other potential Jeremy Lins are out there who have not received the opportunity by getting minutes.”