Jeremy Lin zipped through the Nets’ defense all night before he was finally surrounded.
As teammates hugged him at center court while Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy’’ blasted through the arena, it was clear the New York Knicks had finally found a spark.
And even the Harvard-educated Lin struggled to explain how it ended up being him.
“This night, it just hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest, he said. “It’s like I’m still kind of in shock about everything that happened but I’m just trying to soak it all in right now.’’
Lin scored a career-high 25 points and the Knicks salvaged the finale of a back-to-back-to-back set by beating the New Jersey Nets, 99-92, last night at Madison Square Garden.
Lin came in to control a sluggish offense, adding a career-best seven assists while outplaying Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams.
“Jeremy came out and gave us a great spark off the bench, and that was phenomenal for us tonight,’’ forward Amare Stoudemire said.
Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler each added 17 points for the Knicks, who won for just the third time in 14 games. They fell just short in losses to the Bulls and Celtics the previous two nights.
Williams had 21 points and 11 assists but shot 7 of 19 for the Nets, while Kris Humphries added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Lin was the catalyst for the Knicks, who have been desperate for production at point guard while they wait for Baron Davis to finally become available.
Lin was a hit with the fans practically from the moment he checked in, and some of the loudest cheers of this disappointing season roared through Madison Square Garden when his 3-point play made it 95-86 with 2:03 remaining.
He scored on the next possession to make it an 11-point game as chants of “Jeremy! Jeremy!’’ broke out.
Carmelo Anthony had just 11 points on 3 of 15 shooting, perhaps tired on the third straight night of games.
Jazz 96, Lakers 87 - Al Jefferson scored 18 points, Paul Millsap had 16, and Earl Watson keyed a game-clinching 14-0, fourth-quarter run to lift Utah over visiting Los Angeles.
Watson had 8 points and six assists in the fourth quarter as the Jazz beat the Lakers for the first time in three tries this season.
After Watson stole the ball from Pau Gasol at the top of the key and fed Derrick Favors for a dunk, Lakers coach Mike Brown went ballistic and charged after official Zach Zarba. Brown received two quick technicals and was ejected with 8:34 to play.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Gasol had 24 points and 16 rebounds, but the Lakers dropped to 3-8 on the road.
Cavaliers 91, Mavericks 88 - Rookie Kyrie Irving made a driving layup in traffic with 15.8 seconds left to lift host Cleveland over defending NBA champion Dallas.
Irving, who is showing a knack for last-second drama in his first season, finished with 20 points and Anderson Varejao added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Kings 114, Warriors 106 - Marcus Thornton scored 28 points and host Sacramento scored the first 9 points in overtime to beat Golden State.
Magic 85, Pacers 81 - Dwight Howard had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead visiting Orlando to its third straight victory.
76ers 98, Hawks 87 - Rookie Nikola Vucevic set a career high with 15 points to lead six Philadelphia scorers in double figures in a victory at Atlanta.
Clippers 107, Wizards 81 - Blake Griffin had 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists, and DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Los Angeles past host Washington.
Spurs 107, Thunder 96 - Tony Parker scored 42 points and set a franchise record for career assists (4,477), leading host San Antonio past Oklahoma City.
Bulls 113, Bucks 90 - Derrick Rose scored 21 points and had 13 assists and Luol Deng added 21 points in his return after missing seven games due to a wrist injury, as Chicago easily won in Milwaukee.
Pistons 89, Hornets 87 - Greg Monroe had 24 points and 16 rebounds and host Detroit (6-20) Pistons beat New Orleans (4-20) in a matchup of two of the NBA’s worst teams.
Timberwolves 100, Rockets 91 - Kevin Love scored 25 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Luke Ridnour added 22 points to lead Minnesota past visiting Houston.
Suns 95, Bobcats 89 - Rarely used Robin Lopez scored 9 consecutive points to spark a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter as host Phoenix rallied to beat Charlotte.
Trail Blazers 117, Nuggets 97 - Nicolas Batum scored 33 points and Marcus Camby had 20 rebounds as host Portland easily rolled over Denver.