Lin, the young point guard from Palo Alto via Harvard, had another stellar game with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting and a career-high 14 assists in a 104-97 victory over Dallas at a raucous Madison Square Garden.
It wasn't just the 6-foot-3 Lin helping New York improve its record to 16-16 in the absence of injured All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.
Newly acquired shooting guard J.R. Smith made an immediate impact by hitting three three-pointers in the first half and finishing with 15 points while former Clipper Scott Novak got hot and hit four of five three-pointers and five of seven shots overall for 14 points, all in the fourth quarter.
Lin played all but 2½ minutes of the game, making three of six three-pointers and three of six free throws.
"Looking back, it's like I was watching [the Mavericks] win the championship last year, and that's obviously where this team wants to go," Lin said. "This is helpful to us, not just to me but to us, just to be able to see where our team can go and what we can become, and I think that's the biggest takeaway from tonight."
Two more California standouts, center Tyson Chandler of Compton Dominguez High and guard Landy Fields of Los Alamitos High and Stanford, contributed to the New York win.
Chandler made five of seven shots and all four of his free throws for 14 points to go with 10 rebounds while Fields was six-of-12 shooting for 13 points. Amare Stoudemire added 11 points.
Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points, five rebounds and three assists to lead the Mavericks (20-13), who won the NBA title last season with Chandler as their center.
"I think they found something in Lin, and they're starting to piece together a team that can beat anyone," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been impressed with Lin and credited the Knicks for giving him an opportunity.
"It wasn't luck because there were how many other teams that could have signed Jeremy and the Knicks were the ones who went out and got him," Cuban said. "So they saw something and they were smart enough to go out and get him."
Associated Press contributed to this report.