These things will happen to Jeremy Lin from time to time. The Charlotte Hornets beat the Washington Wizards 101-87 on a crazy 25-2 run to close the game, but it had mostly to do with other players, even if Lin did play better than his box score suggests. Too bad good defense doesn’t show up there for the most part.
Lin finished with just 5 points in 15 minutes, scoring most of them right after coming in late in the first quarter. After that? Misses and turnovers before getting pulled out for good with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter. He was part of the comeback with some hockey assists and good defense, but at 85-85, with another miss from long range, Kemba Walker got back on the floor to help the Hornets complete their impressive run to make it four wins in a row, improving to 9-6.
The news before the game was about Steve Clifford getting an extension. Lin was riding high on momentum from the previous game and generally from more minutes in recent games, making the most of them generally. However, he did make some bad decisions on offense against the Wizards and with Clifford needing points and quickly, just like in the previous overtime win, Lin, usually the team’s smartest player on offense, became expendable.
With the Hornets going through a nice little home run, it seems the Charlotte crowd is getting more and more into things, despite the beginning of something that’s usually more important in North Carolina, college basketball season. The team playing some exciting basketball with wild finishes of late and giving much more than before on defense has helped generate more enthusiasm than before: The fans are great for us. They’ve done a great job to support us and keep us in the game, so we can’t do anything without them. We’re going to try and protect this house for a long time.
Besides Lin playing good defense (but not getting credit for it and his two blocks because of the final push happening without him), it was another game showing how important Marvin Williams can be for the team (Despite his offense on most nights) and Batum’s obviously, with both is perimeter defense and passing (shooting just 5-of-15 from the field) indispensable at this point for the Hornets. Clifford compared Williams to Kidd-Gilchrist, and the Hornets, for the most part, haven’t missed their previously best player defensively, who is out until March and maybe even later.
The only concern from this game is that it hits Lin’s minutes again. For some reason he’s always a player that has his standing in the rotation and hierarchy fluctuate from game to game instead of being viewed with a more macro kind of view. In this occasion Jeremy Lamb was the one from the bench who provided the spark, scoring a team-high 18 points while Nicolas Batum helped with 16 points and 11 assists, Walker finished with 16 and both Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams added 14 each. Clifford knows how important Lin is. He just needs to let this bad offensive performance be forgotten, because in the long run, it’s meaningless.