Lin ignited the firestorm that was Linsanity by giving an amazing streak of performances with the Knicks after taking an unorthodox path to the NBA that took him from Harvard University to the bench in New York, where he lived on his brothers' couch before exploding onto the basketball scene.
The young point guard made his first appearance at MSG in a Rockets jersey Monday night, and he made sure to make it count, dropping 20 points and 8 assists on the best team in the NBA's Eastern Conference en route to Houston's decisive 109-96 victory.
The Knicks are now 18-6 (10-1 at home), while the Rockets improve to a middling 12-12 record (3-7 away) following the key victory.
Houston's James Harden also had a great performance, leading the team with 28 points and 3 rebounds, while the Knicks' new second-string forward Chris Copeland had the best performance of his short rookie career, leading the Knicks with 29 points in one of his first NBA starts. He was in the game in place of Carmelo Anthony yet again, who sprained his ankle last week against the Los Angeles Lakers, and is expected to likely return to the roster within the week.
The loss is a setback for the dominant Knicks - whose league-leading ten-game home winning streak was broken Monday night - but not one that should put the fear of God in New York fans, as the team played Monday night without superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, as well as supporting cast members Rasheed Wallace and Iman Shumpert.
But it was a major symbolic victory for Lin, who left the Knicks during the offseason after being injured at the height of Linsanity. He was unable to get the Knicks, who already have a massive payroll, to fork over the big dollars he earned during his run as King of New York.
Interestingly, Knicks point guard Raymond Felton has stepped up this year to more than fill Lin's shoes, and many New Yorkers say good riddance to Lin and Linsanity now that he is unable to lead his team to a record better than .500.