JEREMY LIN returned Monday to the home he never thought he was leaving, reflecting fondly on Linsanity, but not trying to recreate it.
Lin made his only trip this season with the Houston Rockets to Madison Square Garden, where he went from scrub to sensation last February during a memorable stretch of basketball that made him a worldwide star.
He had 22 points and eight assists in leading the Rockets to a 109-96 victory over the Knicks.
"It was the time of my life, just being able to play basketball and for us to win games and do it in the fashion that we did was so much fun, and energy and buzz, so definitely something I'll remember forever," Lin said during a pregame news conference that even drew a visit from Spike Lee.
Lin received a loud, appreciative cheer during starting lineups from fans, some still wearing his Knicks No. 17 jersey, but got a mixed reception when he left the game with 2:25 remaining and the Rockets leading by 16.
James Harden had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.
Rookie Chris Copeland scored a career-high 29 points for the Knicks, who played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony (ankle) and had their four-game winning streak snapped.
In other games *
At Orlando, Glen Davis scored 28 points as the Magic defeated Minnesota, 102-93. Kevin Love had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
* At Phoenix, Shannon Brown scored 22 points and Jared Dudley added 20 as the Suns defeated Sacramento, 101-90. Jimmer Fredette's 22 points led the Kings.
* At Auburn Hills, Mich., Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford scored 15 points each as the Los Angeles Clippers downed the Pistons, 88-76. Brandon Knight's 16 points led Detroit.
* At Memphis, Mike Conley scored 17 points and the Grizzlies downed Chicago, 80-71. Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls.
* At Oklahoma City, Serge Ibaka scored 25 points as the Thunder beat the Spurs, 107-93. Tony Parker and Nando de Colo had 14 points each to lead San Antonio.