Jeremy Lin won again at Madison Square Garden — and for the first time this season, the New York Knicks didn't.
Lin had 22 points and eight assists in his return to New York, leading the Houston Rockets to a 109-96 victory Monday night that ended the Knicks’ 10-game home winning streak to open the season.
Cheered then jeered, and later clobbered, Lin added another masterpiece to the ones he put together last season during the height of Linsanity. No longer the fan favorite he was when wearing the home uniform, Lin 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, who blew out the Knicks for the second time this season. They have won the last seven meetings, including a 131-103 rout in Houston on Nov. 23.
Rookie Chris Copeland scored a career-high 29 points for the Knicks, who played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony and had their four-game winning streak snapped. They fell to 18-6, matching the record they finished last season with under Mike Woodson.
Woodson’s team decided not to match Houston’s contract offer to Lin, and nobody could argue when Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni led the Knicks to the best record in the Eastern Conference with a team that led the NBA in fewest turnovers.
But Lin was the best point guard on the floor, just as he so often was during his memorable run last winter, when he went from undrafted benchwarmer to the biggest story in basketball.
The Rockets outscored the Knicks, 54-29, over the middle two quarters, denying New York its first 11-0 start at home since the 1991-92 season.
Thunder 107, Spurs 93 — Serge Ibaka tied his career-best with 25 points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds, and host Oklahoma City beat down San Antonio for its 11th straight win.
The Thunder took control with a string of 11 straight points during the third quarter, punctuated by Nick Collison’s putback that made it 71-56 with 4:27 remaining in the period. On the next possession, Ibaka ripped away his third straight offensive rebound before heading toward midcourt and flexing his muscles.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kept his starters parked on the bench throughout the fourth quarter, even as San Antonio cut an 18-point lead in half with about 5½ minutes left.
Manu Ginobili did not play for the Spurs because he bruised his left quadriceps in Saturday’s win at Boston.
Stephen Jackson, who had missed San Antonio’s previous 14 games with a broken right pinkie finger, returned just in time to face the Thunder. He had been fined by the NBA recently for making a threatening Twitter post about Ibaka, but subsequently apologized.
The two had a chance for a confrontation in the first half when Jackson stood in the way as Ibaka went up to catch an alley-oop from Kevin Durant. Jackson stood his ground to prevent Ibaka from dunking, and Ibaka fell to the floor. But Jackson simply raised his hand to claim credit for the foul and peace prevailed.
Clippers 88, Pistons 76 — Jamal Crawford scored 15 points and Chris Paul added 14 to lead visiting Los Angeles to its 10th straight win.
Blake Griffin had 15 points for Los Angeles, which had five players in double figures. Griffin had two breakaway dunks in the last 30 seconds, one on a pass banked off the backboard by Crawford.
Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 16 points and Tayshaun Prince added 15. Detroit has lost five straight.
Grizzlies 80, Bulls 71 — Mike Conley had 17 points, Zach Randolph added 10 points and 15 rebounds, and host Memphis overcame a poor start to beat Chicago.
Conley was 6 of 12 from the field and had four assists. Rudy Gay had 12 points for Memphis but shot 5 of 13, continuing his slump.
Wayne Ellington scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter, when the Grizzlies reserves provided a lift after Memphis shot poorly in the first period.
Suns 101, Kings 90 — Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, Jared Dudley added 20 points, and host Phoenix rallied from as many as 19 points down to beat Sacramento.
Magic 102, Timberwolves 93, — Glen Davis scored 28 points and J.J. Redick had 18 points and seven assists as host Orlando won its third straight by snapping Minnesota’s four-game winning streak.