DALLAS – Jeremy Lin was about three weeks into becoming a household name for the New York Knicks last season when the Dallas Mavericks strolled into Madison Square Garden.
Lin promptly showed the Mavs what all the fuss was about as he poured in 28 points, handed out 14 assists and picked up five steals while leading the Knicks to a 104-97 victory over the Mavs. He also was 11-of-20 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range – he added seven turnovers – while tormenting the Mavs all game-long.
“He’s an aggressive player, he shoots the outside shot, he’s a great penetrator and he’s a great pick-and-roll player,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s got a lot of things going for him and you’ve got to work in a lot of different areas to keep him under control.’’
The Mavs hope to do a better job keeping Lin under control this season than they during that Feb. 19 encounter up in the Big Apple.
Lin now plays for the Houston Rockets, who square off against the Mavs in a preseason game at 7:30 tonight at American Airlines Center.
Oddly enough, Lin played for the Mavs’ summer league squad in 2010 and Dallas offered him a one-year contract. But the slippery point guard eventually signed a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors before playing for the Rockets, the Knicks and now back with the Rockets.
“We tried to sign him,’’ Carlisle said. “But someone else offered him a longer deal.’’
Guard Dahntay Jones acknowledged that Lin offers a series of problems that are difficult for some opponents to overcome.
“He’s an attack guy, so you’ve got to load the paint and be aware of him in transition,’’ Jones said. “Try to clog the paint and try and make him work for everything he gets.
“He had a great streak of games last year and you have to respect him as an opponent. But we’ll be ready for him.’’
The San Antonio Spurs held Lin to just four points on 1-of-10 shooting during their 116-107 win over the Rockets on Sunday afternoon in Houston. But Carlisle saw that as an aberration.
“I think it’s the exhibition season and I don’t think it’s a big deal,’’ Carlisle said. “The guy is a really
good player and he’s a guy you’ve got to game-plan for.’’
-- Dwain Price
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