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Knicks fall to first loss in "Lin era"

(Xinhua)

09:17, February 19, 2012

Jeremy Lin (L) of Knicks competes with a player of New Orleans Hornets in New York, Feb. 17, 2012. (Xinhua Photo)

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- New York's seven game winning streak came to an end on Friday, which is the first loss for Knicks since Linsanity hit the court despite Lin's 26 points.

Jeremy Lin committed nine turnovers out of Knicks' 21 for the whole team, tied for the most in the NBA this season, and dished off five assists in Knicks 89-85 defeat to the New Orleans Hornets.

Lin sparked a fourth-quarter comeback but the Hornets maintained their scoring momentum, never allowing a deficit all through the match, snatched New Orleans' third straight win.

Amare Stoudemire had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New York.

Trevor Ariza scored 25 points for the Hornets, who have won three in a row after a 4-23 start. Marco Belinelli added 17.

Playing for the sixth straight game without injured All-Star Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks missed 20 of their 24 three-point attempts, were only 19 of 29 on free throws and were flat early, quieting a crowd that has been buzzing since Lin joined the rotation.

Down by 12 early in the fourth, the Knicks made a run with Lin on the bench, and cut it to 73-71 when Jared Jeffries hit a free throw after Lin returned during a timeout with 5:29 left.

The Knicks got it down to two again on Lin's free throws with 1:06 to play, but Gustavo Ayon answered with a bucket. when Belinelli's free throws with 25 seconds left made it 87-82, Knicks could not extend their longest winning steak the season longer.

Thus ended a remarkable run by the Knicks, who were 8-15 when coach Mike D'Antoni finally turned to Lin, the undrafted point guard from Harvard who was perhaps days from being cut for the third time this season when got this sputtering team on track.

They only figure to get stronger in the coming days. Anthony worked out before the game and is close to returning, and the Knicks signed his former Denver teammate, J.R. Smith, on Friday.

Smith is eligible to return to the NBA after his Chinese team's season ended, and the Knicks believe he will strengthen their poor three-point shooting.

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