The tension got higher, the stage a little brighter and the competition significantly stiffer. Expectations ticked ever upward. If the moment when Jeremy Lin ran out of magic and gusto was going to arrive, it probably should have been this one.
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were in the building. The national television cameras were rolling. But the sensation could not be snuffed Friday night, and Lin’s joyride rolled ever onward as the Knicks took down the Lakers, 92-85, at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks absorbed a 24-point second half from Bryant, turned back every Lakers rally and let Lin’s mystique carry them to their fourth straight victory, a streak that began when Lin joined the rotation.