- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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A year ago Monday, Jeremy Lin came off the end of the Knicks' bench to lead the team to a win over the then-New Jersey Nets.
We all know what happened next: Lin spurred the Knicks to seven straight wins, almost single-handedly saving what, to that point, was a lost season. He became an international phenomenon in the process.
Of course, a lot has changed in the past year -- for both Lin and the Knicks.
New York beat Detroit on Monday night to improve to 31-15 and move within a half-game of the Miami Heat for the top spot in the East. Lin is in Houston, adjusting to life with James Harden as the Rockets fight for a playoff spot in the West.
The Knicks declined to match Houston's offer to Lin over the summer, opting to bring in a veteran cast to complement Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was asked on Monday about the difference between last year's team during Linsanity and this year's squad.
"Right now, the way we’re playing as a team, what we’ve been doing for the whole season so far, we’re doing a great job," said Anthony, who's in the midseason conversation for MVP. "Playing offense, playing defense, but the most important thing is that we trust one another, we believe in one another. We hold each other to high standards. We know what to expect from one another."
He added of Linsanity: "I don’t think we will see that again for a long time, how much that took off."
Anthony was reportedly put off last year when people questioned whether he could fit in to the Knicks' Lin-led offense. Anthony and Lin, though, have both denied there was a rift.
Tyson Chandler believes New York is better prepared for a deep playoff run this season than it was last year under Lin.
"That was an exciting year and it was an exciting moment, but we didn't have the type of cast that we have now," Chandler said when asked to reflect on Lin's run. "That was just like a period in time. This team has the chance to do something special. [It] has the chance to do something that hasn't been done in a long time. That's the biggest difference."
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6dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann