The Charlotte Hornets lost 102-94 to the New York Knicks with Jeremy Lin having a kind of mixed bag of performance, starting hot and then ignored before thrown back in, as it seems his head coach has no clue on how to recognize the right players to put on the floor at the right time, and how to keep rhythm and momentum going.
Lin finished with 13 points on 4-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line, including 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Kemba Walker was the big star of the night for the Hornets with 31 points, but Walker plays in isolation from the rest of the team. His points have no influence and connection on how well the Hornets are doing. Not that he was the problem. Nicolas Batum shooting 1-of-9 from the field and a bad game from pretty much everyone in the frontcourt, obliterated by Kristaps Porzingis who finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds in the best game of his rookie season, showing once more what the booing fans on draft night know about basketball.
The Hornets, falling to 5-6, couldn’t make 3-pointers. There’s certainly more of an effort from the team to play more open basketball, but it’s just not happening consistently enough. Batum isn’t involved as much as he should be in the ball movement instead of just shooting, while Lin needs to be on the floor a little bit more, next to or without Walker, and Clifford needs to sort out his minutes. He got close to 30 which is fine, but why have him miss the entire third quarter and not even bother to make a change as the game starts slipping away?
It’s nice that Steve Clifford puts Lin on the floor for the entire fourth quarter. That’s the way it should be. But managing the minutes better has to be a priority, with Lin left out for almost the entire third quarter. The Hornets played their best basketball in the second quarter. Lin had a strong start to the game, and was on the floor the entire time in the second. Not a coincidence if you’ve seen the Hornets play this season. But then sitting out for almost 11 minutes in the third? The game ran away from the Hornets in that quarter.
Getting repetitive isn’t endearing to readers, so that’s enough about third quarters and minutes. Lin needs to hope Clifford isn’t making this switch to more minutes just because P.J. Hairston is out (he probably is). And even if he is, with Hairston probably out for at least one more game, it’s up to Lin to have a big night and convince Clifford otherwise, although once again, it’s not completely up to him. Maybe playing the next seven games at home can help him with that.