HOUSTON, Texas – Chandler Parsons’ career night helped Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets down the New York Knicks 131-103 Friday in the first clash between Lin and his former NBA team.
Lin, who became a breakout star with the Knicks last season but ended up in Houston when New York declined to match a Rockets’ offer, dominated the headlines coming into the contest.
But Parsons stole the show, scoring a career-high 31 points on 13-of-17 shooting.
Parsons grabbed five rebounds, handed out four assists and added four steals in a block in the convincing win.
James Harden scored 33 points and went 16-of-16 from the free-throw line for the Rockets, who have now won six in a row against the Knicks.
All five of the Rockets starters scored in double figures, including Lin’s 13 points with seven rebounds and one steal.
His three assists included one in the third quarter that led to a three-pointer by Toney Douglas — another ex-Knick.
Lin, the first American of Taiwanese or Chinese heritage to play in the NBA, became a sensation in New York last season, coming off the bench to bolster an injury-depleted team and scoring at least 20 points nine times over a 10-game stretch from February 4-20.
Lin, who was undrafted graduating from Harvard, saw his campaign end prematurely after 35 games — 25 of them starts — because of a knee injury.
In the offseason, Houston signed the restricted free agent to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet, which the Knicks opted not to match.
Despite that snub, Lin said he prepared for his first game against the Knicks as he would for any other.
“I enjoyed playing for the fans, that was the biggest thing,” Lin said of his time in New York. “But I had a lot of peace about it right when it happened because I know God has the perfect plan.
“It didn’t shake it out the way everybody thought it would, but I’m still very, very at peace with it.”
Prior to tip-off, Lin hugged former team-mates Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, then went to the Knicks’ bench and shook hands with coach Mike Woodson.
Woodson was asked what he thought of Lin’s play this season, which so far hasn’t included the kind of heroics that sparked “Linsanity” in New York.
“My focus ain’t been on Jeremy Lin,” he said. “It’s been on the guys that I coach. That’s behind me.”
The Knicks got the season off to a blistering start, winning their first six games.
They brought an 8-2 record into the contest, but even Anthony’s 37 points — which included seven three-pointers — couldn’t prevent New York from losing a second consecutive game for the first time this season.