Taipei, Dec. 19 (CNA) Jeremy Lin's first appearance at Madison Square Garden as a Houston Rocket drew the highest rating for a New York Knicks game this season, according to the MSG Network, a reminder of his marketing value to the team last season.
Monday's game, in which the Houston Rockets beat the Knicks 109-96, received a 4.77 Nielsen household rating in the New York television designated market area, far higher than the 3.41 average rating for the Knicks' first 18 games of the season, the MSG Network statement said.
Lin, whose phenomenal run with the Knicks in February and March sparked the "Linsanity" craze in New York and around the world, scored 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the field in helping deal the Knicks their first home loss of the season.
The rating was still well below the 5.78 rating generated last season on Feb. 15 when the Knicks, then led by Lin, beat Sacramento at home to win their seventh straight game.
The Knicks' average household rating on MSG Network more than doubled during that winning streak, and the share price of Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Knicks and the MSG Network, also rose 12 percent during that period.
Despite the financial dividend Lin's popularity bought to the team's owners, the Knicks decided not to match the Rockets' three-year, US$25.1 million offer to the 24-year-old guard in the offseason, resulting in Lin heading to Houston.
After Monday's game, Knicks' head coach Mike Woodson spoke of the decision regarding Lin's departure from New York, saying that the club backed away from the Rockets' offer sheet because of the potential US$15 million luxury tax on the final year of the deal.
"We wanted Jeremy back and I made that public back in the summer," he said.
"We were going through the recruitment process, but things changed from a business standpoint. And Jeremy decided to take the Houston deal. He has every right to do that. I think as an organization, we've moved on," Woodson was quoted as saying on ESPNNewYork.com.
"We were able to go out and field guys like Kidd, Pablo and Raymond, and we're excited about those three guys that we fielded, because they've come in here and they put us in this position in terms of our (18-6) record, and sitting at the top of our division," he said.
"It's no knock against Jeremy; he did what he had to do making his decision and we've done what we had to do, and we wish him nothing but the best until he plays the Knicks. And that's it."
The Knicks had been under the impression that Lin would get an offer sheet for guaranteed US$19.5 million over three years from Houston, but when the value of the contract ballooned to US$25.1 million in mid-July, the Knicks quickly acquired Raymond Felton, effectively ending Lin's career as a Knick.
(By Lung Po-an and Jamie Wang)