CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Jeremy Lin finally got a chance to show the Charlotte Hornets what “Linsanity” is all about.
Making just his second start with the Hornets, Lin scored a season-high 35 points in a 109-99 overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors last night.
Kemba Walker added 27 points while P.J. Hairston had 14, including a three-pointer with 1:30 left in overtime that put the Hornets ahead to stay.
“That’s what I wanted to do for a long time,” said Lin, who got the start when Nicholas Batum couldn’t play because of an illness that took him out in the second half Wednesday night in a loss at Orlando.
“I saw how much [being the play-maker] took out of Al [Jefferson] and Kemba,” he noted.
“But I couldn’t have done it without [Walker] and he couldn’t have done it without me,” Lin added.
“He helps me out just as much as I hope I can help him.”
It took both Lin, who had 18 first-half points as Charlotte took a 56-44 halftime lead, and Walker to take down the Raptors, who rallied from a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Lin gave Charlotte a 72-56 lead on a lay-up with 4:14 to go in the third quarter.
But behind Kyle Lowry, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, the Raptors fought back and tied it at 90-90 on DeMar DeRozan’s jumper with 26 seconds remaining.
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation time, forcing a turnover that DeRozan turned into a jumper—only to have the points overturned because of a time-out called right after the steal was made.
“I was proud of the team and the way we competed late,” said Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey.
“But we didn’t compete early enough,” he stressed. “It’s almost like we have to get hit in the teeth before we compete.
“I do give our guys credit—they could have quit but they didn’t,” Casey added.
“They fought and put themselves in a position to win.”
Toronto took its only lead on Lowry’s lay-up 15 seconds into overtime.
After two ties, Hairston hit his “three.”
The Hornets closed out the game by outscoring the Raptors 10-3 over the final 1:07, going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
“That was a really good win,” said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford.
“It wasn’t pretty there in the fourth [quarter] but I thought we had a lot of guys make a lot of good plays,” he noted.
Bizmack Biyombo, who spent four seasons in Charlotte, made his return a memorable one.
He finished with a career-best 18 rebounds while also blocking seven shots (tying his career high) and scoring eight points.
Many of those blocks were punctuated with a finger wag—a familiar sight to Charlotte fans, who saw Biyombo set a team record with 443 blocked shots.
“It was a different feeling,” Biyombo admitted.
“I call him my brother, Kemba [Walker], but at the same time I play for my team and my teammates,” he noted.
The Raptors next visit Miami tonight.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Cleveland beat Oklahoma City 104-100 and Houston dumped the L.A. Lakers 107-87.