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Thursday, February 9, 2012
Stats-wise, Lin is in LeBron James territory

By Jared Zwerling

Jeremy Lin had never scored more than 13 points in an NBA game before Saturday, but he's now surpassed 20 in three straight games, including Wednesday night's 23-point, 10-assist performance. In fact, Lin is the first player since LeBron James -- yes, LeBron James -- in 2003 to score at least 20 points and dish out eight assists in his first two NBA starts.

James went for 25 points and nine assists, and then 21 points and eight assists in those two games, but his Cavaliers lost both of them. Lin's Knicks, on the other hand, were victorious and they're now on a three-game winning streak.

It turns out, Lin isn't the first Knick to accomplish that. That honor goes to former point guard Greg Anthony, who's currently an analyst for NBA TV and CBS' college basketball coverage.

Here are the players who've tallied at least 20 points and eight assists in their first two starts since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976:

Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks) in 2011-12
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) in 2003-04
Greg Anthony (New York Knicks) in 1991-92
Negele Knight (Phoenix Suns) in 1990-91
Billy McKinney (Kansas City Kings) in 1978-79

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Before Lin's surprise visit to the world, the Knicks were scoring in the mid-80s and low-90s. In the last three games Lin has gone off, the team is averaging 101.7 points per game. What's been the difference? Lin's ability to maneuver around screens and split double teams, while keeping his floor vision. With Lin drawing the defense up on him, it's created spacing for shooters and lanes in the paint for bigs.

When Lin's off the court, things change. Here's a breakdown:

Knicks Per 48 Mins This Season With And Without Lin

Lin On Court | Lin Off Court

Points per 100 possessions -- 108.0 | 96.4
Assists -- 21.1 | 18.5
Field goal percentage -- 47.7 | 41.9
Points in the paint -- 48.3 | 37.4

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