Beating up on the Cleveland Cavaliers isn’t so difficult to do these days, but it doesn’t take away from the achievement Jeremy Lin pulled off, showing once again just how wrong the Houston Rockets can be with their blind following after the fool’s gold of James Harden, as the backup point guard finished with a triple double in the 106-92 win.
Lin finished the game with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists despite playing for only 29 minutes. The Rockets enjoyed their best basketball (surprise surprise) when he was on the court, winning by 19 points during those minutes.
It was a first career triple double for Lin, and the first Rockets player to record triple-double off bench since Cedric Maxwell on March 31, 1988. There was a special stat line in the game for Patrick Beverley as well, playing for 41 minutes but not scoring a single point. He still finished with 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals.
That’s hard to do. It’s just hard to be able to score the basketball, grab rebounds and pass the ball and get your teammates involved off the bench as a point guard. It’s tough. But he’s talented enough to do it and he did it.
James Harden and Dwight Howard were enjoying Lin and Beverley’s great games. Harden scored 28 points with Howard adding 26 points. The rebounds, the assists, almost everything that wasn’t scoring (although Lin dipped his hand in that as well) came from Lin and Beverley, who enjoyed the terrible defense and lack of effort from the Cavs’ backcourt, something of signature sign from that team by now. Luol Deng has spoken about being disappointed with his new band of teammates, and how the things that go on during practice in Cleveland wouldn’t fly in Chicago, his previous team.
Harden was back after missing a few games with a hand injury. He spoke about how the injury seemed to fix his shooting again, but the most important thing was him not trying to take over the play when there was no need for it. There were the moments he couldn’t avoid, but in general this was the kind of game you’d like to see from a team like the Rockets, who have a point guard like Jeremy Lin who is a great option to use to lea the ball and dictate play.
I need to injure my hand more often. I shot it better than I’ve been shooting before. I haven’t been shooting the last couple of days so I didn’t know how it was going to react to it, but I just had confidence in my abilities and just went out there and did it.
It’s hard to say what’s going to be the wake up call for the Rockets, although playing that well off the bench can be a double-edged sword. Lin has proven over the last few games that he has no trouble being the man who leads this team on the floor. He isn’t the most talented scorers and shouldn’t be the finisher, but he’s a better point guard and decision maker than both Harden and Beverley. For him to play 10-15 minutes less than them simply doesn’t make sense, especially when it’ll be harder opponents they face.
However, with McHale seeing that Lin can get the job done coming off the bench as well, don’t be surprised to see the continued line of thought proceed – Lin coming off the bench while Beverley and Harden continue to be an accident of selfish basketball waiting to happen.