Bottom line – Although this wasn’t a mistake-free game from Jeremy Lin, it was his most productive since joining the Toronto Raptors, as he finally ended his 3-point drought.
Lin finished with 14 points off the bench in 22 minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans. After a long stretch on the bench from midway through the second quarter and almost through the entire third, he played an important part in helping the Raptors run away with the game. He shot 6-for-9 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, adding 3 assists while turning the ball over 4 times.
In terms of numbers, it’s his highest scoring game since January 23 and his first 3-point field goal since February 10, both those games still with the Hawks.
Nick Nurse continues to show faith in Lin, perhaps giving him more freedom in his style of play than some would imagine. It does lead to turnovers and misunderstandings, but Lin makes up for it on both ends of the floor. He showed his usual moments of flair, be it behind the back assists, halting a fast break just to create an easy basket for Norm Powell, or cutting to the paint with cat-like quickness that always seems to surprise defenses, still.
But the long range makes were the main issue. Both from almost the exact same spot, one without a hand in his face, the other with a disturbance by Julius Randle. Lin’s early days in Toronto did have their moments of flash, but the struggles from beyond the arc hovered like a dark cloud above everything, while scoring only 3 points combined in the last two games helped feed the bad start narrative.
But this game against the Pelicans could point to a new direction. Fluidity and cohesion are still to be desired, but that’s to be expected. But there’s no excuse for Lin shooting 10% on 2.5 three-pointers per game. Not when good teams are getting better and better at protecting the rim while funnelling offenses to shoot from three with their less dangerous shooters. Lin can’t afford to be a liability on offense, regardless of everything else he brings to the floor.
Lin’s stats so far: 59 games, 10.2 points, 19.7 minutes, 3.5 assists. Shooting 45% from the field, 30.3% from three and 84% from the line.