NEW YORK Feb 23 2012
Jeremy Lin prepared for LeBron James's Miami Heat by leading the New York Knicks to a 99-82 NBA victory over Atlanta on Wednesday.
Lin scored 17 points and added nine assists to improve the Knicks to 9-2 since the Asian-American star emerged from a reserve role to take the league by storm.
Lin's next match will be keenly observed with the 17-17 Knicks to tackle James's league co-leading Heat in Miami on Thursday.
With JR Smith just signed after spending the early part of the season in China and Carmelo Anthony back from an injury, the Knicks have started to come together, with Lin adding punch with timely passing as well as scoring.
"We have a lot of offensive weapons now," Lin said. "I don't need to shoot as much with these guys coming back. We have JR and 'Melo back. We're going to move the ball and make the defences pay."
Lin said he relishes the challenge presented by James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"They are so quick and athletic," Lin said. "We need to make sure we try to get into the paint instead of just move the ball around the 3-point line.
"We're going to play hard. Definitely we're flying everywhere. We're playing hard. We're going to go down there and try to keep doing the same things.
"It's a big game. It will be a good evaluation of where we are at. Besides that, we're just going to try to stay consistent. We don't want to get too high against elite teams and lose that energy against teams with weaker records."
Lin is averaging 23.9 points and 9.0 assists a game, the best showing by any player in his first 10 starts since 1976. But his "Lin-sanity" magic will face a man-to-man test against superstar James.
"LeBron is a great player and great, great defender," Lin said. "I've got to just continue to be aggressive and not change anything."
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Oklahoma City made it 11 straight home wins with a 119-104 victory over Boston, extending their lead in the NBA Western Conference to three games.
In Dallas, Andrew Bynum's 19 points and 14 rebounds led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 96-91 win over the defending champion Mavericks.
Chris Paul's season-high 36 points guided the Los Angeles Clippers to a 103-95 defeat of Denver, with fellow All-Star Blake Griffin adding 27 for the 20-11 Clippers.
Chicago continued their winning run over Milwaukee, beating the Bucks for the seventh straight time 110-91 with Joakim Noah claiming the first triple-double by a Bulls centre since Artis Gilmore in 1977.
In other matches, Houston defeated Philadelphia 93-87, Dwight Howard starred in Orlando's 108-91 win over New Jersey, Minneapolis downed Utah 100-98, Golden State edged Phoenix 106-104 on the road, Indiana comfortably overcame Charlotte 102-88, Toronto were too good for Detroit with a 103-93 win, New Orleans beat Cleveland 89-84 and Washington lost 115-107 at home against Sacramento.
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