NEW YORK — Jeremy Lin showed off another dimension on his magical NBA ride in leading the Knicks to a 100-85 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday for New York’s seventh win in a row.
Lin, who has risen from obscurity to a dynamic force at point guard over the last 10 days, scored just 10 points after posting at least 20 in each of the first six games of the winning streak but the playmaker’s passing stole the show.
The Taiwanese-American doled out 13 assists, including half a dozen alley-oop passes that led to thunderous dunks and easy layups to the delight of a roaring Madison Square Garden crowd.
“As a point guard, my field goal attempts have been really high,” Lin said of his previous high-scoring performances. “I don’t think that’s necessarily good.
“I think it’s more of my job to distribute and get people in rhythm, especially when Melo (Carmelo Anthony) comes back, another lethal scorer. My shots will go down and my assists will go up.”
Lin’s distribution promoted a balanced attack that saw Landry Fields lead on 15 points, with Bill Walker and Steve Novak adding 14 points apiece as the Knicks reached the .500 mark with a 15-15 record.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was thrilled with Lin’s performance and the way the team were playing together.
“If the situation calls for him to score, he’ll score. If they double (team) him, the ball goes someplace else,” D’Antoni told reporters.
“I’m really happy with 13 assists. The next night he might have 30 (points). Whatever we need.”
New York’s defensive effort, led by center Tyson Chandler, also won praise from the coach.
“We held them to 17, 19 and 19 (points) the first three quarters,” he said. “Our guys are stepping up.”
With former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson among the celebrities in the packed Garden crowd, New York delivered an early knockout by finishing the second quarter with a 12-2 run for an 18-point lead at intermission.
Midway through the third quarter, Lin bounced a perfect pass to Jared Jeffries for an easy layup to top his previous high of 11 assists. He played sparingly in the fourth quarter as the Knicks carried in a 22-point lead.
Enamored with their newest hardcourt icon, fans brandished Lin’s face on paddles and waved them to distract Sacramento free throw shooters, who had their fill of the Knicks’ darting, dishing point guard.
“We ran into a hot team,” said Kings coach Keith Smart. “A hot team that’s playing well and playing as a cohesive unit.”
The Kings, who were led by Tyreke Evans with 19 points, dropped to 10-19 with the loss.