While the Atlanta Hawks fell 97-89 against the Indiana Pacers to a 7th straight loss and 11th in the last 12 games, Jeremy Lin put in perhaps his finest performance of the season.
Lin finished with 16 points, marking his third consecutive game in double figures, which also bounced his scoring average this season for the first time above 10 per game. He shot 7-for-11 from the field, hit 2-for-3 from beyond the arc (including a late super deep tre), grabbed 8 rebounds, had 6 assists and 3 steals along with 4 turnovers. He also finished with a +6.
It’s safe to say Lin has his confidence back, and it looks like head coach Lloyd Pierce is more and more confident in what he’ll get from Lin when he’s on the floor. It’s not just the impressive point-per-minute production we’re seeing from him; it’s the swagger and the confidence to pull off creative stuff – bounce passes galore, risque moves on the way to the basket and taking more risks on defense.
Lin, not for the first time, showed a nice knack for knowing when to turn up the pace and when to slow it down. It’s still not seamless and flawless in the decision making aspect, but it’s much better than 2-3 weeks ago. He’s gotten some nice on court bonds going on with certain Hawks players, and if it wasn’t for some fouls by the Pacers in the paint to prevent easy baskets, Lin would have had his first double-double of the season, at least.
The last 3 games and previous blips on the radar that have just gotten stronger have made think a bit about Lin’s role in all of this and perhaps, for the Hawks as well, it would make sense to trade him at some point to get a draft pick. With Lin showing consistency in his ability to be a super-productive backup point and more, there may come a time this season that a team with loftier short-term aspirations than the Hawks might come a calling.
For now, it’d be nice to see Lin and his teammates win a game. The road trip hasn’t been kind to them, but the 4-game home stand might not be too inviting either, playing against the Clippers, Raptors, Celtics, and Hornets (the easiest, on paper, of them all).
Lin so far this season: 16 games, 10.3 points, 2.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game in 18 minutes a night. He’s shooting 46.4% from the field, 38% from deep, 86.5% from the line. This was the second time in three games without a free throw shot for Lin.