WASHINGTON -- Jeremy Lin drove past John Wall and attacked the basket, throwing down a righthanded dunk that brought many of the fans and all of his teammates on the bench to their feet.
Lin screamed and ran down court with a bandage hanging off his chin from a cut he received early in the game and the crowd still buzzing.
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The Lin phenomenon continued in our nation's capital, where the undrafted point guard from Harvard received chants of "Jer-e-my Lin" and lifted the Knicks to a 107-93 victory over the Wizards Wednesday night.
Lin, who also had scratch marks on his right arm, registered his first career double-double, finishing with 23 points and 10 assists, as the Knicks won for the third straight time after dropping 11 of 13. It was the third straight game Lin scored at least 20 points and the third consecutive time he established a new career best in assists. "He has the ability and he has the talent to play like this every night," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I think it's real."
Lin is making people forget the Knicks still have Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on the roster. They were without Anthony (strained groin) and Stoudemire (death in his family), and for the second straight game the Knicks were in command most of the night.
"Without [Lin] right now, who knows where we would be," Jared Jeffries said.
They took a nine-point lead in the first half with Lin directing a 23-7 run. They started taking control of the game at the end of the third with Lin helping turn a two-point deficit into a nine-point lead by getting inside and making plays, including the thunderous slam.
The next big test will come tomorrow night when the Knicks, still without Anthony and Stoudemire, face Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at the Garden.
Tyson Chandler had a season-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. Steve Novak hit five three-pointers and scored 19 points off the bench for a second-straight game. Iman Shumpert added 17 and Landry Fields 16.
But Lin's slam were the two points everyone was talking about.
Chandler didn't know Lin could dunk. As it was happening, he said he was thinking Lin should have laid it in. "All of a sudden he dunks it," Chandler said, "I was probably just as excited as the crowd was.
No one was more excited than Lin. "I just try to play with as much energy and emotion as I can," Lin said. "I let it all hang out when I get out there. And I don't really try to hold too much back."
Wall led Washington (5-21) with 29 points and six assists, but Lin was the better point guard and has become the NBA's newest sensation. Numerous fans in the Verizon Center held up signs for him. One was addressed to Novak.
A sign directed at Lin read, "The next big thing." Five fans sitting together wore blue shirts with an orange letter or number on it that spelled "LIN 17."
"The energy in this room, the camaraderie that we have right now, he's kind of unified this team," Jeffries said. "He can take a lot of credit for that because his energy and how much he truly enjoys every moment he's out there has unified and given our team a new energy."
And an unexpected three-game winning streak with Lin as the catalyst.