Jeremy Lin Makes 1st Return to New York As A Rocket

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Jeremy Lin returns to New York Monday night, to Madison Square Garden, where he ascended from an unknown fringe player to an international phenomenon.

He is a Houston Rocket now; the Knicks did not match a three-year, $25-million offer he received in the summer. He said he has a confluence of emotions about returning to play in New York, where “Linsanity was born.

“I’m definitely ready to get it over with just because I think in some way there’ll be some closure,” Lin told USA TODAY. “This will be the first return back to MSG, and there’ll never be another first return. We’re going to go out there, play and have some fun and enjoy it and move on.”

Knicks guard Raymond Felton, who was acquired to take over the point guard spot, said Lin deserves a warm reception from Knicks fans.

“What Jeremy did was amazing, was great,” Felton said. “I’m happy for him, he got his money. He’s the starting point guard in Houston. I used to watch him every game. But it’s time to move on. We’re 18-5, we’re 10-0 at home, so there’s no need to talk about that no more.”

The Knicks are playing as well as any team in the league without Lin, while he and his Rockets are still seeking to find a groove.

“Terrible,” Lin said when asked about how he has played this season. “I’m not doing close to what I’m capable of doing. It’s a matter of figuring out how to get myself to play more like myself within the system of everything that’s going on and a change of scenery.”

Here’s a look at the numbers: In those magical 25 starts with the Knicks last year, Lin averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and shot 44.5% from the field. He also had a career-high 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on national television, skyrocketing his popularity.

In 23 starts with the Rockets, Lin has averaged 10.8 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds and has shot 39.5% from the field. Ordinary numbers, and certainly not worthy what a player making his money. He did have 38 points against San Antonio last week, however.

“The biggest thing for all us is comfort,” Lin told the newspaper. “When you’re comfortable, everything is easy, everything flows. Right now, we don’t have that exactly. We’ll get there though. We’ve shown glimpses. We’ll have some games where everything is perfect and free-flowing and everyone’s comfortable and we’ll have the ones like today where it’s just not quite there.

“It’s a matter of battling through the adversity so we can get everybody more on the same page more consistently.”

Rocket teammate James Harden said the hype around playing against a former team is overblown.

“I don’t think Jeremy’s really caught up in going back and trying to make an individual performance,” Harden said. “It’s good to see old teammates and coaches and fans, but to be honest, you guys, the media, really hypes it up to be bigger than what it is.”

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