Lost in the shuffle after the addition of Dwight Howard this summer, the continued excellence and payroll savings of Chandler Parsons and James Harden‘s ascension, is good ol’ Jeremy Lin. You know, the Taiwanese-American guy who lost his starting job to Patrick Beverley on opening night. Yeah, he played pretty good coming off the bench last night when the Rockets eked out a win in double OT over the visiting Raptors.
Lin dropped 31 points as the Rockets’ sixth man in their 110-104 win over the Raptors. On a night when the Rockets kept turning the ball over, Lin swooped in for the rescue, going 10-for-17 from the field in 45 minutes off the bench (he also had 5 turnovers, but everyone was turning it over on Houston). Lin talked about being in the zone after the game, via the Houston Chronicle:
“I think I would say from a pure field-goal-attempt standpoint, this is the most aggressive I have been this year. I think once you get in a zone, you are in that zone, and there is nothing that can faze you at that point.”
Rockets coach Kevin McHale also forwarded along his advice to Jeremy after Patrick Beverley replaced him in the starting lineup:
“Jeremy was in attack mode going in,” McHale said. “Jeremy is one of the few guys right now shooting with a little bit of confidence, and he made some shots.
“With Jeremy, we talked about it, about him coming off bench. I told him, ‘Hey, you have to just go out there and just play. You’ve worked hard all summer.’
So far, Lin is listening to that advice. In the season’s infancy, Lin is leading the team in three-point accuracy, 45.5 percent, and is second to Howard in overall field goal percentage. The Rockets needed everything Lin could give last night against a feisty, if poor shooting (33 percent) Raptors group.
“I started feeling pretty good and got in a rhythm once I got a couple of shots to go down,” Lin said. “I am thankful to God for the game. You know that lefty shot I hit at the end â€” I don’t think I have ever done that in my life, besides like working on it in workouts but never in a game. So I was definitely in a zone.”
Whether it was God, or all the hard work Lin put in over the summer â€” something McHale alluded to â€” Lin’s role coming off the bench is looking pretty smart. Now if McHale would just stop playing Omer Asik and Howard at the same time, we might have something here. Whether the Rockets are a title contender is hard to say, but Lin appears perfectly suited to coming off the bench, and that will only help them moving forward.
What do you think?
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