Lin hits game-winner, Knicks win 6th straight
|New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (R) and Jered Jeffries celebrate their win against the Toronto Raptors during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto February 14, 2012. Photo by Mike Cassese, Reuters.|
MANILA, Philippines – The legend of Jeremy Lin continued to grow after the former Harvard standout drained the game-winning three-pointer with less than a second to go to push the New York Knicks past the Toronto Raptors, 90-87.
Lin finished with 27 points and set a new career-high with 11 assists, while Amar'e Stoudemire had 21 points and nine rebounds in his return after a four-game lay-off.
The Knicks were down by as much as 17 points as Raptors point guard Jose Calderon heated up for 25 points, all of which came in the first three quarters.
But Iman Shumpert held Calderon scoreless in the final period, and Tyson Chandler provided a strong presence in the shaded lane, paving the way for Lin’s heroics.
Lin tied the game at 87-all with a three-point play, and Leandro Barbosa air balled a three-point attempt on the other end of the floor.
Shumpert missed a potential go-ahead jumper, but Chandler was able to get the offensive rebound and passed the ball out to Lin, who isolated against Calderon at the top of the key to hit the game-winner.
It was the sixth straight victory for the Knicks, who improved to 14-15 this season despite still playing without injured All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
"I'm thankful that the coach and my teammates trust me with the ball at the end of the game," Lin told NBA.com. "I like having it an the end of the game. I'm just very thankful."
The Knicks could have called a timeout after Chandler got the crucial offensive board, but head coach Mike D’Antoni opted not to so as to prevent the Raptors from setting up their defense.
"(Lin) was pretty confident that was going in, no rebounds, no nothing. That ball was being buried," he said.
"He continues to impress me every night. Every game he plays better, he does more and more to help us win basketball games," teammate Jared Jeffries added.
Lin was only nine-of-20 from the field and committed eight turnovers. He struggled to defend Calderon all game but came up big in the final minutes.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey acknowledged that Lin "made a great shot" but was frustrated over his teams inability to protect a double-digit lead.
"It should not have come to Lin's play... We should have taken care of business before that," he said.
Heat win back-to-back-to-back
The Miami Heat easily defeated the Indiana Pacers, 105-90, to win their fourth game in a row and sweep a stretch of three road games in three nights.
LeBron James had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Miami, who led by as much as 35 points and shot 50% from the field.
According to NBA.com, the Heat became the first team since the Phoenix Suns in 1979 to win three straight games on the road.
"I think as far as team chemistry, we got better every single night. We moved the ball," James said.
David West led the Pacers with 14 points, but they lost leading scorer Danny Granger to an ankle injury in the first quarter and never really got back in the game.
"They came out and jumped all over us. There was no way we could battle back from the hole that we dug for ourselves," said Indiana's Dahtay Jones.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs won their eighth straight game by defeating the Detroit Pistons, 99-95.
Tim Duncan had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead a balanced San Antonio attack that saw seven players score in double figures.