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Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

Mavs become latest victims of Linsanity


NEW YORK — Linsanity lives. Forget the off night that had NBA fans worldwide wondering if the Jeremy Lin story was too good to be true. It's still plenty good.

News photo
New York state of mind: Jeremy Lin celebrates with teammate Landry Fields in the final moments of the Knicks' 104-97 win over the Mavericks on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. AP

The Harvard sensation was back at his whirling ways Sunday, and the stage couldn't have been better — against the defending champions on national television.

Hours after the opening of "Saturday Night Live" spoofed the Lin phenomenon, the point guard had 28 points and a career-high 14 assists to carry the Knicks to a 104-97 victory that ended the Dallas Mavericks' six-game winning streak.

"Looking back, it's like I was watching them win the championship last year, and that's obviously where this team wants to go," Lin said.

"This is helpful to us, not just to me, but to us, just to be able to see where our team can go and what we can become, and I think that's the biggest takeaway from tonight," he said.

After the final buzzer, Lin got a hug from a fellow Bay Area product, and someone who knows a thing or two about playing the point — Mavs star Jason Kidd.

"He looks a little bit like Steve Nash out there," Kidd said, referring to the two-time MVP of the Phoenix Suns.

In a game of wild momentum swings, the Knicks reeled off 17 straight points in the first quarter, fell behind by 12 in the third, then pulled it out to beat the Mavericks for only the third time in the last 20 meetings.

"I think they found something in Lin, and they're starting to piece together a team that can beat anyone," Mavs guard Jason Terry said.

Steve Novak also delivered for the Knicks. He scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, including four 3s. J.R. Smith scored 15 points in his Knicks debut.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 34 points for the Mavericks, who had been playing championship-level defense but became the latest team who couldn't stop Lin.

"I was talking to them before the game and they were saying they had an answer for Lin," said Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who played for the Mavs last season, "I guess they were dead wrong on their scouting report."

Heat 90, Magic 78

In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and LeBron James added 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Timberwolves 92, 76ers 91

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Suns 102, Lakers 90

In Phoenix, Jared Dudley scored a season-high 25 points, while Marcin Gortat finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Pistons 96, Celtics 81

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Rodney Stuckey added 16 points.

Pacers 108, Bobcats 73

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Indiana over Charlotte.

Cavaliers 93, Kings 92

In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving's two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining gave the Cavaliers the win.

Rockets 101, Jazz 85

In Houston, Kyle Lowry scored 32 points and Luis Scola had 26.

Bucks 92, Nets 85

In Newark, New Jersey, Ersan Ilyasova had career highs of 29 points and 25 rebounds.

Thunder 124, Nuggets 118 (OT)

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored a career-best 51 points for the top performance in the NBA this season.

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