I only saw the first half of Hornet’s Game 3 vs. Heat. I wasn’t too surprised that the Hornets won, but was shocked they won by such a big margin when I checked the score late in the fourth and saw that Hornets were up 90 to 70 (Final Score: 96-80). I had to do a double-take. Because I didn’t watch this entire game, I can’t comment too much on the specifics of the game, but I did see enough to know that Lin was responsible for yet another important win for the Hornets. I mean, even the NBA recognized that. Their YouTube Channel has a highlight video of Lin with the title: “Jeremy Lin Leads Hornets to First Playoff Win in 14 Years”:
With the exception of Deng (19 points for the Heat), Lin lead all other scorers with 18 points, but Lin did it in only 26 minutes of playing time. Lin also had the second highest +/- with a +18 (Zeller had a +19) for the night. The rest of Lin’s stat line: 7-16 from field, 2-3 from three-point, 2-3 FT, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 0 TO, 1 steal (on Wade).
Even though it was clear to anyone watching that Lin lead the Hornets to their first playoff win in 14 years and lots of analysts tweeted about Lin, Frank Kaminsky ends up winning the player of the game. Here’s Frank’s stat line: 15 points, 5-12 FG%, 0-3 from three-point, 5-5 FT, +16, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 TO, 1 steal, 1 block. Frank did this in 34.5 minutes, whereas Lin only had 26 minutes of playing time. Frank also did most of his damage by taking advantage of a mismatch (from Cliff’s post game interview, it appears as though the much smaller Wade was on Frank when Frank went off). I’m not trying to hate on Frank, I’m just providing factual evidence that I think shows Lin had the much better performance–especially when you look at the context. Yet, because of the ABL (Anybody but Lin) syndrome, Lin didn’t get the Player of the Game. Lin has to be 10 times better than the next best guy on the floor in order to get the POG recognition, it seems. That’s the story of Lin’s life in the NBA: he does all the work, but doesn’t get the credit. But when something goes wrong, it’s all Lin’s fault no matter what.
I didn’t watch the second half, which is where I think Kaminsky made the most impact (due primarily to taking advantage of a mismatch), so I guess I can’t comment. But seeing all the response on social media and headlines of articles on the game, as well as the title from the above video from the NBA, I think it was pretty clear that Lin was the player of the game.
The truth is Lin has actually been the most solid Hornets throughout the playoffs. He and Batum were the only ones who showed up in game 1 and when Lin went to the bench in the second quarter in game 2, that’s when that game was lost. Here’s an excellent stat from @22NN4 that shows just how effective Lin has been in the first two games:
With what Lin did in Game 3, Lin has clearly been the MVP for the Hornets of the series. Yet, Cliff never uttered Lin’s name in his post game interview last night. It’s so insane to me how successful Hornets are whenever Lin leads, yet, Hornets seem oblivious to this. In just one season with the Hornets, Lin has managed to snap some of the Franchise’s longest losing streaks. For example, Lin gave the Hornets their first win over the Spurs since January 2010 and he snapped LeBron’s personal 20+ game winning streak vs. the Hornets. Last night’s win will require me to update my post which aggregates all of the records Lin has broken.
Like I mentioned, I only saw the first half of last night’s game. What I saw was Lin playing his game. Lin was relentlessly attacking the paint every time he got the ball and he was pretty aggressive about getting the ball in his hands. I think Lin understands the urgency of the matter and that it’s time to stop being a good soldier. Lin knows that when he does well the Hornets do well, but he also doesn’t want to go against his coach’s demands. So Lin will only play his brand of basketball when times are desperate. On Wednesday, I sent Lin these tweets:
I’m sure Lin didn’t see any of my Tweets, nonetheless, I’m very proud of him for playing exactly the way I wanted him to play. I’m sure he has lots of people around him who expressed similar sentiments as I did in those Tweets to Lin. Lin also understands the situation himself and that’s why he just played his game last night, just like he did in the Nets game back in 2012 that launched Linsanity. He said, fuck it, if I’m going out, I’m going out playing my game. I hope he continues to have this attitude throughout the playoffs.
I’ve said this time and time again, but when Lin has a great game it’s contagious and Lin’s entire team as a great game and wins. Last night, 6 players were in double-figures. Lin also has a knack for drawing the most thunderous celebrations from fans and teammates:
I think Lin sometimes shies away from taking over games, because he doesn’t want to be seen as being selfish. But the truth is that when he takes over the game, like he did vs. Spurs, everyone gets into it and his energy is contagious. It only adds to the energy of his teammates. And that’s what makes Lin special and a player you want to build your team around. This morning, I sent Lin the following tweets.
I’m sure Lin won’t see my Tweets, but I hope he has people around him who are expressing similar sentiments to Lin. Now onto game 4, make it count, JLin!