NBA: ‘Linsanity’ limps out of Toronto on losing note

LIN THE DOLDRUMS::Jeremy Lin scored only seven points, and is averaging only 11, compared with 14.6 last season, as he prepared to face his old team, the Knicks, in New York

Reuters, TORONTO

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 - Page 20

Jeremy Lin could be excused for wondering where all the mass hysteria he attracted last season has gone, but the Houston Rockets guard is not one to draw unnecessary attention to himself.

When Lin visited the Toronto Raptors in February, he was a member of the New York Knicks, playing the best basketball of his career and the face of a global craze dubbed “Linsanity” that transcended the sporting world.

However, in Sunday’s 103-96 road loss to a weak Raptors team, Lin had a pedestrian seven points, a far cry from the 27 he had in February when he made a game-winning three-pointer for the Knicks with under a second to play.

“If I could turn it on like a switch like that easy, I would obviously turn it on, but that’s not how it works,” Lin told a group of reporters that paled in comparison to the crowed he drew in February when a special room was set up to accommodate the flood of media.

Houston’s off-season acquisition of Lin was made with hopes that he would build on the breakout run he enjoyed with New York, who only plugged him into their starting lineup after a rash of injuries.

Lin has shown flashes of the brilliance that made him such an exciting figure, most recently a 38-point outburst over a solid San Antonio Spurs team last week that tied a career high for the 24-year-old Taiwanese-American.

However, he has failed to consistently deliver what the Rockets were hoping for when they lured him away from New York with a US$25.1 million, three-year contract.

Just over a quarter of the way through the regular season, the man behind the “Linsanity” craze has averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for an 11-12 Rockets team that is ninth in a 15-team Western Conference, where the top eight teams make the playoffs.

“I am not doing close to what I am capable of doing,” said Lin, who averaged 14.6 points in 35 games last season.

“I’m my harshest critic and I’ll go ahead and say I’m doing terrible,” he said.

It has been a whirlwind of a year for Lin, who was virtually an unknown bench player before going on an improbable multi-game stretch of greatness that made him one of the National Basketball Association’s most popular players and gave birth to the “Linsanity” phenomenon.

Regardless of his play, there were sure to be plenty of eyes on Lin last night when he was to play his first game at the New York Knicks since his off-season move to Houston.

However, while it may be a date many NBA fans circled on their calendar when the 2012-2013 schedule was released, Lin just seems eager to move on and focus on winning games.

“Definitely ready to get it over with. In some sense, there will be some closure,” Lin said. “I am thankful for those times because those were some great times, but at the same time it’s [time for] the next chapter.”