Baron Davis is defended by Indiana Pacers' Louis Amundson (17)...

Baron Davis is defended by Indiana Pacers' Louis Amundson (17) and A.J. Price (12) during the first half. (March 16, 2012) Credit: AP

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeremy Lin received loud ovations from the fans and saw numerous signs with his name on them. The Pacers didn't treat Lin all that well, though.

They knocked around the Knicks point guard and played physically against him. On one drive, Lin banged the back of his head on the floor after he came down hard. He also was knocked out of bounds on another play, far away from the basket.

But Lin showed tremendous poise and composure and demonstrated that he still can be effective under Mike Woodson. Lin shot 6-for-10 from the field and finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers.

"I'm just happy we got the win," Lin said. "I'm learning to play in a less spread offense. It's still a lot of the same stuff. But there are times when I won't have as many opportunities, so just be selective. I think tonight was a big step for me."

Davis seems to be OK

The Knicks sounded relieved that Baron Davis' hamstring injury isn't as bad as they had feared. He strained it in the second quarter of Friday's win over the Pacers and didn't make the trip. The Knicks hope he will return Tuesday against the Raptors. "It's not as severe as we thought," Woodson said. "We're just not taking any chances right now."

Without Davis, rookie Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby backed up Lin. The Knicks' other point guard, Toney Douglas, missed his third straight game because of personal reasons. He's expected to rejoin the team Monday.

Woodson likes his bench

One change Woodson has made since replacing Mike D'Antoni is that he's going to his bench at different times. Carmelo Anthony is playing less in the first and third quarters and Amar'e Stoudemire is playing less than before.

"I've somewhat changed the rotation patterns," Woodson said. "Our bench has been great. I feel good about our bench. Our bench is just as important as the guys who start the game, and we need that."

New coaching staff

Woodson had his full coaching staff with him Saturday night. The Knicks officially hired Darrell Walker and Jim Todd as assistants; they joined Herb Williams and Kenny Atkinson, who remained from D'Antoni's staff. Woodson's high school coach and "confidant," Bill Smith, also has been hired as an adviser.

Todd was an assistant coach with the Kings until Friday night. Sacramento let him out of his contract. Todd, who was an assistant at Columbia and Manhattan College, said he didn't tell the Kings players he was leaving until they beat the Celtics Friday night.

Walker, a former Knick, and Todd both have NBA head- coaching experience.

Coming home

This was a homecoming for Woodson, who attended Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis and then Indiana University. Woodson spent some time with family members before and after the game.


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