For Jeremy Lin, this season and generally his time with the Houston Rockets has mostly been about doing well in the small moments James Harden actually lets someone else play point guard for the team. Along with Dwight Howard returning, a solid performance from the backup point guard who should be a lot more was probably unnoticed by those not looking at things closely enough.
The Rockets had no problem handling the usually solid defensively Charlotte Bobcats, coming away with the 100-89 win. James Harden might be the hottest player in the NBA right now next to Kevin Durant, scoring 31 points on 11-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. The Rockets played very quick basketball in certain moments, leading to 21 fast break points and making the most of only nine turnovers by the Bobcats.
Harden is pulling up from everywhere, and for the time being is doing very well. He is averaging 32 points over the last three games, and even though his dominance means a lot less touches for everyone on the team, it didn’t seem like this time anyone is resenting it, feeding him the ball willingly. For the time being it’s working, but as we’ve warned about a million times, this is a dangerous road to go on, which might lead to disappointment with the Rockets killing off any potential offensive options that don’t involve Harden doing everything.
Dwight Howard returned to action for the first time after missing three games, and the winning trend didn’t stop on his account. He finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, although the Rockets did look better with a less rusty Omer Asik, who had a bit better time in defending the rim compared to Howard.
The Rockets went through the motions in this game. Jeremy Lin played 20 minutes and the Rockets looked good with him on the floor. He scored 10 points in 20 minutes to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. He hit two 3-pointers and as usual, the group he was playing with resembled a team, unlike the one and four more guys we get when Harden demands and gets the ball. Not that it did anything wrong for Houston in this one – in many moments when the offense was stuck, Harden simply took it upon himself to score. But what works some nights and recently almost every night isn’t a perfect solution, which is something Kevin McHale needs to remember in the homestretch of the regular season and the playoffs coming closer.
For those of us looking to see Lin playing a more substantial role, it simply isn’t going to happen under the current conditions. The Rockets are in love with how Beverley complements Harden, even if his defense is more about effort than skill. James Harden is playing the best basketball we’ve seen from his this season and for once, it’s coming with consistency and even a little bit of effort on defense. Jeremy Lin is doing very well with the minutes given to him, but at a disadvantage in terms of how the coaching staff view him, he’s not going to get more chances unless the Rockets suddenly hit a bump in the road, and even then it’s unlikely they’ll turn to him to try and fix things.