Jeremy Lin Assists in Great Team Effort vs. Celtics

I’ve been taking a little break from watching Rockets games, partly because I just haven’t had the time, but also because I was a little tired of being frustrated with McHale’s mishandling of a talented group of guys–especially Lin. The way I look at being a Lin fan is that it’s a marathon, not a race. I plan on being at this for the duration of Lin’s career. During that time, Lin will be with different teams, coaches and teammates, so there will be new issues to dissect and triumphs to celebrate. So there’s no need to burn out complaining about the same things over and over. This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m done complaining about McHale’s mishandling of Lin. But it’s the reason why I thought it was healthy to just take a little break and use the time I normally devote to watching the games to doing other things, like binge watching Netflix, for example. Ha ha. (I FINALLY got around to watching “The Walking Dead”–went through three seasons in short order.)

Anyway, I did manage to catch the second half of the Celtics game. I meant to catch the whole game, but I thought the game started later than it actually did. So I tuned in an hour late. Lin ended with 9 assists, and from the game highlights, they showed three alley-oops from Lin to Howard. This is something I expected to see before the season even started and is why I made the bold prediction that Lin would average 8 assists this season. But, of course, I made a few caveats to this prediction. One of the caveats involved Lin playing with Howard and this hasn’t turned out to be the case. In fact, Lin doesn’t even get to practice with Howard (although he probably does now that Beverley is injured).

I don’t know what went on in the first half, but what I saw in the second half was Lin being the primary ball handler and Harden playing off the ball and playing within the flow of the offense. When this happens, the Rockets run smoothly and end up with nearly every player (six)Β in double figures, except Brewer (who played less than 5 minutes), Brooks and Garcia.

Last night’s game was a total team effort centered around Howard with Lin as the floor general. I’m not saying that this is the way it has to be for every game, but this should be the identity of the Rockets. If you center your offence through Lin and Howard, you get everyone involved, because Howard also has the capability to facilitate (although he hasn’t shown enough of this with Houston). You also give Harden a chance to save his energy so he can put out more of an effort on the defensive end–something he promised he’d focus on and actually did follow through with during pre-season and in the beginning of the season. But Harden has reverted back to just being a pure scorer.

I didn’t catch the Wizards game, but from the Box Score, it looks like Lin also played well and acted as the primary floor general with eight assists and attacked aggressively. So for two games in a row, McHale has let Lin be the primary ball handler. It’s probably too optimistic to say that this is a turning point. Lets just wait and see if this trend continues. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Beverley returns. That will be, yet, another chance for McHale to admit his mistake of not starting Lin. Although Lin coming off the bench and winning the Sixth Man award would be a great thing for Lin–even though it would be a mistake for the Rockets.

Lin and the Rockets have a big test in the next several games facing OKC and the Blazers. Lets see if Lin continues to be the primary playmaker against some of the best teams in the NBA.

 

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  • MrPingPong

    Thank you, Philosopher, for your game analysis.

    I missed the whole game yesterday, though I did get a chance to listen to it on radio while driving. From the highlights I’ve seen and the commentaries I’ve read, it looked like Lin was Linning again! πŸ™‚ Let’s enjoy it while it lasts because McHale will start Bev again when Bev comes back!

    In case you have not seen this, but I’ve found the following highlight quite telling of how Lin is being short changed all the time on the court.

    http://youtu.be/4JVG8mYi3BA

    • Oh yeah, I saw that INSANE NO CALL by the refs, but forgot to mention it in my write up. Thanks for bringing it up, MrPingPong. Lin had several other questionable ref calls in the game. He got called for two fouls against him that he didn’t deserve.

  • Drew

    According to Red94, Beverley’s defense is no better than Lin’s, but is less consistent.

    http://www.red94.net/defense-performance-consistency-trends/13788/

    • Thanks for the link, Drew. Red94 is probably the best Rockets site. It’s way better than Ultimate Rockets or Dreamshake, even though it’s way less popular. Red94 provides a great deal of analysis. Too bad they don’t get as much of a following.

      Yeah, I think anyone who still thinks Lin isn’t one of the best defenders in the league in the point guard position is blinded by their preconceptions of Lin. You don’t really need stats to see how great Lin has been defensively all season. He’s either contained or shutdown his counterpart in nearly every game this season so far. Unfortunately, because of people’s preconceptions, Lin still hasn’t gotten the respect he deserves on defense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjLYLoHNSUg

      • Drew

        I think defense, especially for perimeter players, is hard to measure. If a perimeter defender does his job, then his man passes the ball to someone else. That doesn’t exactly appear on a stat sheet.

        Agree about Red94. It’s much more analytical and less writers trolling for comments. You’d think that the ESPN support would give it a leg up.

  • Forthelin

    Nice analysis, and nice to see you back! Checked out part of tonight’s game against the Pelicans, and Lin helped start the comeback from 17 down in the second qtr. He had a couple of nice blocks–blocks! Lin has some hops, if anyone can recall his recovery and block on Rose last year. I couldn’t catch the second half, but checked the stats and found Lin’s stats didn’t change much. Still, Rox won, so that’s a plus.

    • Thanks, Forthelin! I was in the process of responding to your comment, but it ended up being a really long response, so I just turned it into another post.

      Yeah, I remember the block on Rose last year. I included it in my video about Lin’s defense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmh9Q4Mx73I

  • MrPingPong

    I missed the Pelicans game. Perhaps someone here can give a recap?

    • That’s as good of an explanation as any, I suppose. I definitely think Morey is trying to figure out ways to trade Lin and Asik. But I don’t think he’ll find the right deal and will most likely have to wait until the summer for a deal that makes sense to him. So I’m pretty sure we’ll have to stick it out with Lin being with the Rockets until at least this summer.

  • pistolpete

    Anybody think JLin’s playing time and being allowed to run the offense was showcasing him for a possible trade to the Celtics?

    • MrPingPong

      Are you starting another trade rumor, Pistol? πŸ™‚

      Anyway, just making conversation here with some random and sometime irrelevant thoughts…

      The Rockets beat the Blazers rather convincingly last night. When the treys are dropping, the Rockets are hard to beat. I was quite surprised by how well Bev played considering his right hand was still wrapped up. KUDO to Bev. And Harden tried to defend! Lin was almost a non-factor, I think. It has become more and more apparent that Lin is non longer considered as a key player on the Rox team. Lin is financially secured. He is smart, talented and will find his way.

      Now onto some non-basketball stuffs…

      Anybody here watch the Australian Open? I was so proud of Nishikori, who went toe-to-toe against Nadal. Kei lost but showed great potential! I think Michael Chang, his coach, has helped him greatly. Hey, I’m Asian and can’t help rooting for Asian players! πŸ™‚

      19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard is the first Canadian player to ever make it to the Auz Open semi-final. She was asked whom she would date if she had her choice of anyone in the world. Her answer was …. (http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/01/genie-out-bottle/50350/#.Ut6SLih6iyo).

      It would be so cool if she had said, ‘Jeremy Lin’, don’t you think? πŸ™‚
      That’s my irrelevant/irreverent thought of the day! πŸ™‚

      Have a great day/afternoon/evening/night, wherever you are on this WEB!

      • I play tennis and am a fan, MrPingPong, but haven’t been watching the Australian open. I didn’t know Michael Chang is coaching. I still remember his under-handed serve to Ivan Lendal (I think) at Wimbeldon (I think). One of the more interesting moments in sports.

        • MrPingPong

          It was the 1989 French Open. Chang was only 17 and seeded 15. He beat #1 Lendl in the round of 16 (yes with the famous underhand serve) and then went to beat #3 Edberg in the final to win it ALL! Boy, I was so proud of him!

          Nishikori just hired Chang recently. It seems to work out really well for both men!