Local basketball fans got a taste of “Linsanity” as Jeremy Lin helped the N.Y. Knicks claim their third win in a row, this time on the Washington Wizards’ home court by 107 to 93.
Every time Lin made a shot, the crowd in the Verizon Center went crazy. His international buzz from putting up double digits in the previous two games has won him a growing number of fans, like 8-year-old Allen Chang of Arlington, Va.
“I like basketball,” Chang said in the fourth quarter as the Knicks led and Lin scored.
His father had brought him to his first basketball game of the season, because Lin was playing and playing very well. The Ivy Leaguer from Harvard University ended up with 23 points and 10 assists.
But this did not stop other players from shining on the court in the absence of the Knicks’ biggest stars. John Wall led the team with 29 points, and Tyson Chandler added 25.
Two of the Knicks’ prominent players were missing: Amare Stoudemire was mourning the recent death of his brother, and Carmelo Anthony’s injury to his groin had some fans thinking the Wizards could have an easy win.
“I thought John Wall would score less and get more assists, Nick Young would score more, JaVale Mcgee would play better defense – since the Knicks’ best players aren’t here,” said Olu Daniels, a 2003 Howard alum.
Some fans were just out to support their home team and what they thought would be a good game.
The game got off to a good start with the Knicks putting the first few points on the board and the Wizards coming back to lead until the second quarter.
Shanaye Batey, 20, a D.C. native, attended the game with her boyfriend and said it was her first.
“I’ve always wanted to come to a live game,” said Batey as she cuddled with her boyfriend overlooking the court.
Before half-time, the Wizard Girls did a loosely choreographed routine to the Tina Turner classic “Rolling” that was mediocre at best. The Howard University Showtime Marching Band opened half-time with a five-minute performance. The Ooh-la-la dancers strutted out, and the band played popular club bangers “Booty Work” by T-Pain and “Wobble” by V.I.C.
During the second half of the game, veterans Roger Mason Jr. and Maurice Evans got to show their young teammates that they still had it, adding points to the scoreboard.
After the buzzer sounded at the end, Mason was the only Wizards player to show good sportsmanship by walking over to shake hands with the Knicks.
Up in the stands, Chang, who is in the third grade at Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, says he would return to the Verizon Center under one condition.
“Knicks have to play again for me to come.”