NEW YORK — Raymond Felton is leaving Linsanity in the dust.
Remember when some fans and talking heads criticized the Knicks last summer for signing Felton and choosing not to re-sign Jeremy Lin?
That seems like ancient history now.
Felton went for 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 0 turnovers Tuesday night as the Knicks beat the Celtics, 87-71, to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
In the Houston Rockets’ Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Lin went 1-for-7 for 4 points and 4 turnovers.
“Tonight Felton was aggressive,” Celtics big man Kevin Garnett said. “I felt like he was the ‘X-factor.'”
Felton was shipped away in the Carmelo Anthony deal two years ago, and didn’t play with the Knicks for the last two postseasons. As a result, he’s relishing this postseason even more.
“It’s been great,” Felton said. “New York is probably one of the best places to play basketball…Just the intensity, just the fans, how much they get involved into the game. It’s great, so I was definitely sad and upset a little bit that I left the first time but things happen, I’m back, it’s been great and I’m loving every moment of it.”
When the Knicks seized control of the game with a 32-11 third quarter, Felton went 3-for-4 for six points.
“We got stops and Raymond did a great job of really pushing it and getting us into something,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
While Felton and Pablo Prigioni combined for 7 assists, Celtics point guard Avery Bradley managed just 2, underscoring how much Boston misses Rajon Rondo.
“When Rondo’s out there, they’re in a kind of certain flow,” J.R. Smith said. “When he’s not out there in certain situations, they really don’t know who to go to, they don’t know what plays to run, and that’s credit to a great point like Rondo. Whenever he’s in the game it seems like he knows two, three plays ahead of time what he wants to do and what plays to run and who they’re going to run it for.
“Fortunately for us, they’re a little fuzzy up top on who they want to get it to and why and we’re doing a great job of pressuring them to make sure they don’t have enough time to think about that.”
With the Knicks up 2-0 as the series head to Boston, Rondo is on the shelf and Lin isn’t making Knicks fans wish he was still in New York.
Not with the way Felton has played.
Photo: New York Post
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.