“I lived through Vinsanity when I was with Toronto in Canada and that was big then, but this is bigger than that,” said Knicks interim general manager Glen Grunwald, referring to when Vince Carter played for the Raptors. “It’s really hard to believe.”
But it was finally halted in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd in which many fans wore shirts that read either Lin or Linsanity above his No. 17.
Spike Lee, who usually wears Landry Fields’ No. 2, switched up to a different model. He donned Lin’s high school jersey from Palo Alto, Calif. a dark green No. 4 he wore over a neon green long sleeve shirt, clashing horribly with the Hornets’ green and purple Mardi Gras uniforms.
But the ugliest thing at the start was the Knicks’ offense. Lin’s five turnovers in the first quarter matched their number of baskets, and Chris Kaman had 10 points to lead the Hornets to a 27-13 lead. The Knicks cut it to 43-39 at the half.
The game was originally scheduled for ESPN, back when the story would have been Chris Paul’s last visit to New York before the Knicks’ expected pursuit this summer in free agency. Instead, the Knicks took themselves out of the free agent market by acquiring Tyson Chandler, Paul was dealt the Clippers, and the Knicks looked like they might have lasting point guard woes until Lin’s emergence.
But he’s been turnover prone _ committing at least six in five straight games _ and it finally came back to cost the Knicks this time.
Notes: NBAstore.com has shipped Lin merchandise to 23 countries since Feb. 4, with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia ranking only behind the United States and Canada in largest shipments. … The Knicks had won the previous six meetings. Their longest current winning streak against an opponent is eight straight wins over Washington. … The Knicks paid tribute to former Mets catcher Gary Carter, who died Thursday, during a first-quarter timeout.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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