NEW YORK — Stars Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were out for the New York Knicks.
Who needs household-name guys anyway?
Sparked by Steve Novak and Jeremy Lin — yes, really — the Knicks defeated the Utah Jazz 97-88 tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Stoudemire left the team earlier in the day to be with his family following the overnight death of his brother, who died in an automobile accident in Florida.
The Knicks then lost Anthony to a strained right groin early in this contest.
No worry. Lin, the second-year Harvard guard who torched the Nets for 25 points Saturday, outdid himself. He racked up 28 points and eight assists in his new starting and starring role.
With dazzling dribbling and sweet drives — including a mid-air hand change for a reverse layup — Lin received M-V-P chants from hyped-up New York fans still in celebratory Super Bowl mode for their Giants.
Novak came off the bench to score 19 points and killed Utah from outside to lead the Knicks, who'd lost 11 of 14 games.
Al Jefferson led Utah with 22 points, while Raja Bell (15 points) and Gordon Hayward (14) were the only other Jazz players in double figures.
Paul Millsap struggled shooting 3-for-10 for nine points with 13 rebounds.
The Jazz, who play in Indiana on Tuesday, shot 43.4 percent against New York's no-namers.
Jared Jeffries added 13 points for New York, which improved to 9-15.
The Jazz dropped to 13-10 and 2-6 on the road.