When he was introduced last night at the Garden, where he became an international phenomenon one season ago, Jeremy Lin received a decidedly warm and positive reception.

And that lasted until the Knicks fell behind, which was real quick. Fans who once adored Lin wanted back rent for Landry Fields' couch as the Rockets point guard excelled.

It got worse as the Knicks' plight worsened. Fans, ticked at how easily Lin drove to the basket early, lustily cheered a 3-point airball. And they were outraged when Tyson Chandler was called for a flagrant foul on Lin.

"It was fine, I had fun," Lin said after the Rockets finished a season sweep of the Knicks with a 109-96 victory. "And I'm thankful to the fans. A lot of people showed up, supported me, wore my old jersey. I'm still thankful to the fans. It was a lot better than I thought."

And getting slugged by Chandler?

"I totally understand when someone comes in your lane you want to make sure they think twice about coming back. So you hit them hard. I still kept coming," Lin said with a smile. "It was friendly. It wasn't malicious."

Despite the ultimately negative bent of the fans — he received an unquestionably mixed reaction when he finally exited with 2:25 left — Lin cherishes every moment of the Linsanity experience.

"It was just a fun time, obviously," said Lin, who finished with 22 points and eight assists and keyed an important third-quarter run. "It was the time of my life, just being able to play basketball and for us to win games in the fashion that we did was so much fun. And energy and buzz. It's definitely something I'll remember forever."

In an admittedly up and down season, Lin, 24, says he is growing and learning with the Rockets while avoiding the expectations of a season ago. That time is something to reflect on, not try to duplicate.