NEW YORK, USA, February 21 – Jeremy Lin flirted with a triple double but the New York Knicks struggled to find the right chemistry with the return of Carmelo Anthony from injury, losing 100-92 to the New Jersey Nets.
“I need to come out with more energy and the team needs to come out with more energy. That is why we lost,” said Lin.
It marked just the second loss since Lin’s amazing run began February 4 against the same Nets when he blitzed New Jersey’s defence for 25 points.
The Knicks have eight wins and two losses since the legend of Lin was born with that 99-92 win over the Nets.
Lin finished with a team-high 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as all five Knicks starters reached double figures in scoring in Monday’s loss.
“Jeremy still got 21 and nine and he still had a great game, a good game,” said Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. “Our energy wasn’t right the whole night. We still got some sorting out to do.”
The Lin era got its launch when the former part-time player was called upon with two starters missing, and he answered with the most points of any NBA player in his first five starts since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976.
The fairy-tale rise to fame of Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese and Chinese heritage, is further enhanced because he was cut by two clubs before joining the Knicks.
The Knicks had no answer for Nets point guard Deron Williams who finished with a game-high 38 points Monday.
The Knicks welcomed superstar Anthony back into the lineup from injury Monday but he struggled to find a role in the revamped Knicks’ offence.
Anthony shot just four-of-11 from the field and had 11 points, well below his season average of 22.3.
Anthony had missed the team’s last seven games with a groin strain and point guard Baron Davis made his season debut against the Nets.
D’Antoni said one person wasn’t to blame for the loss.
“When a guy comes back others guys stand around and watch what he is doing,” D’Antoni said. “It was the whole team’s fault.
“Two or three guys were new in there and we weren’t rolling.”
Amare Stoudemire (17), Tyson Chandler (14) and Landry Fields (10) also reached double figures for the Knicks.
D’Antoni said they hope to use the upcoming all-star break to better identify the role of each player on the team.
“We got some things to sort out and figure out what identity we have to have. We need to retool a little bit and see what we can do.”