NCAA

Lin returns to New York, recalls Linsanity fondly

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Lin returns to New York, recalls Linsanity fondly

NEW YORK (AP) Jeremy Lin returned Monday to the home he never thought he was leaving, reflecting fondly on Linsanity but not trying to recreate it.

Lin made his only trip this season with the Houston Rockets to Madison Square Garden, where he went from scrub to sensation last February during a memorable stretch of basketball that made him a worldwide star.

``It was the time of my life, just being able to play basketball and for us to win games and do it in the fashion that we did was so much fun, and energy and buzz, so definitely something I'll remember forever,'' Lin said during a pregame press conference that even drew a visit from Spike Lee.

Lin received a loud, appreciative cheer during starting lineups from fans, some still wearing the Knicks No. 17 jerseys that the team couldn't keep on the shelves last winter.

The Knicks insisted he would return, and Lin went into free agency believing it. But the Knicks declined to match the contract Lin signed with the Houston Rockets, and Lin said it was ``a little weird'' to return Monday as a visitor. Lin wouldn't talk much about the summer, beyond saying everything happens for a reason. But Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who refused to discuss Lin earlier this season, seemed to place the blame on Lin for the point guard's departure.

Lin originally agreed to an offer sheet with the Rockets worth about $28 million over four years. The terms were then amended to about $25 million over three years, the final year worth nearly $15 million but would cost the Knicks more than twice that in luxury tax payments under the harsher penalties in the new collective bargaining agreement.

So the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton, and signed Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni.

``We wanted Jeremy back. I made that public back in the summer when we were going through the recruitment process, but things changed from a business standpoint and Jeremy decided to take the Houston deal and he has every right to do that,'' Woodson said.

``I think as an organization we've moved on. I mean we were able to go out now and field guys like Kidd and Pablo and Raymond, and we're excited about those three guys that we've fielded man, because they've come in here and they've put us in this position, in terms of our 18-5 record and sitting at the top of our division,'' Woodson added. ``So it's no knock against Jeremy, he did what he had to do, by making his decision and we've done what we did what we had to do and we wish him nothing but the best until he plays the Knicks.''

In reality, Lin was simply doing what he had to do as a restricted free agent, since the Knicks weren't going to make him an offer until another team had set the market for him. But he had no complaints about the way the things played out, praising Felton for the way he's played for the first-place Knicks.

``It all happened the way it was supposed to,'' Lin said. ``Going into this summer, I thought I'd be coming back to New York, but everything happens for a reason. There's no hard feelings either way and right now I'm in a different place in my life, different chapter, different city, different team.''

Lin came into the game averaging just 10.8 points, far below the 24.6 points and 9.2 assists he averaged in those first 10 games of Linsanity last Feb. 4-20. Lin may never reach that level again, and he's OK with that.

``I just need to stay focused and have tunnel vision when it comes to that,'' Lin said, ``and I don't think anybody from the Rockets organization is expecting me to recreate anything and I'm not, either.''

But he'll always enjoy thinking about it.

``It will always have a special place no matter how long I play, because that was the beginning for me,'' he said.

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

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USA Today Sports Images

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite scored 17 points apiece as defending national champion Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 63-58 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (12-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally regained their winning touch after dropping out of The Associated Press ranking for the first time since November 2017.

Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) lost its fourth straight home game. The Yellow Jackets haven't won at McCamish Pavilion since a Dec. 4 victory over Nebraska. 

Diakite's dunk with 14:47 remaining gave Virginia its biggest lead, 43-29.

The Cavaliers were still up 48-37 with just over 10 minutes to go when Georgia Tech suddenly came to life offensively.

The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five possessions, stringing together a 9-0 run that cut Virginia's edge to 48-46.

That was as close as Georgia Tech would get.

Huff, a 7-foot-1 center, knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to thwart Georgia Tech's momentum. A few minutes later, he swished another open jumper to make it 55-48. 

Georgia Tech got a basket and a defensive stop, but Braxton Key swooped on for an offensive rebound to give the Cavaliers a second chance. With just over 2 minutes to go, Diakite was left open on the wing for a jumper that made it 57-50, effectively finishing off the Yellow Jackets.

Jose Alvarado paced Georgia Tech with 20 points.

Virginia led 33-25 at halftime, taking advantage of the home team's sloppy play. The Yellow Jackets hit 11 of 18 shots (61.1%) but turned it over 13 times, wasting far too many possessions against the defensive-minded Cavaliers.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers picked up a desperately needed victory to avoid their longest losing streak since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017. While still a far cry from their national championship squad, Virginia showed some offensive efficiency to go along with its always-tenacious defense. Key chipped in with 10 points. 

Georgia Tech: This is shaping up to be another disappointing season, raising more doubts about whether coach Josh Pastner can turn around a program that is approaching a decade since its last NCAA Tournament appearance. The Yellow Jackets continue to show flashes of promise, but Pastner has been unable to develop any sort of consistency in his fourth season. 

UP NEXT

Virginia: Returns home to play North Carolina State on Monday night. 

Georgia Tech: Hits the road for the first of two meetings against No. 11 Louisville. The teams will meet again in Atlanta on March 7, the final game of the regular season. 

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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