Jeremy Lin had 19 points and 13 assists as the New York Knicks rallied to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-103.
In their last game at Madison Square Garden before a four- game road trip, the Knicks surged back from a 12-point halftime deficit last night to improve to 10-3 in the National Basketball Association since Lin took over at point guard on Feb. 4.
Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 22 points for the Knicks (18-18), who had lost 12 of their previous 13 meetings with the Cavs (13-20), who are now winless in three games.
“We’re a very deep team now,” Anthony told reporters. “Guys are starting to get their legs underneath them, guys are starting to get healthy.”
Steve Novak scored 17 points, Iman Shumpert had 12 and J.R. Smith added nine off the Knicks’ bench.
“J.R., Shumpert, when they’re on the wings and they get out in the open court, that’s a lot of fun,” Anthony said. “Then with Novak shooting the ball the way he’s shooting the ball, it’s a great thing to watch.”
The Knicks trailed 61-49 at halftime before outscoring the Cavaliers 33-19 in the third quarter to take an 82-80 lead. New York extended its lead to 15 points by opening the fourth quarter with a 19-6 run.
“We gave up 71 points in the second half,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told reporters. “You have to give them all the credit in the world. They were much more aggressive. They came out aggressive and we melted.”
Antawn Jamison had 23 points and rookie Kyrie Irving, the first pick in the 2011 draft, had 22 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers.
“It was hard to watch, and it was hard to be a part of,” Irving told reporters. “We couldn’t sustain the same energy we had in the first half.”
Lin, 23, is the first Harvard University graduate in the NBA since Ed Smith in 1954 and the first Chinese- or Taiwanese- American to play in the league. He was cut by two other clubs before signing with the Knicks on Dec. 27.
The Knicks are tied with the Boston Celtics for second place in the Eastern Conference’s five-team Atlantic Division, three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers. Cleveland is 14 games behind the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division. The Bulls beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-89 last night.
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