Four games into the Toronto Raptors episode of his career, Jeremy Lin is experiencing winning, playing well for certain stretches, but is still waiting for his shot to drop.
Lin finished with 8 points in 25 minutes as the Raptors dismantled the Boston Celtics. He’s getting minutes (this time quite a few garbage time) on a team that’s not just a playoff contender, but a legit finals candidate. He’s playing better and better defense with every game. His connection on the floor with playing – Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Marc Gasol – is improving. But the shots. The shots aren’t dropping.
Lin’s defense in this game was some of the best we’ve seen from him all season. He handled Kyrie Irving quite well when he needed to, and didn’t let switches on bigger players turn into easy points for the Celtics. When you have support from behind, which the Raptors have in droves, it’s much easier for Lin.
His combination with Marc Gasol is clicking. It’s not just assists. Gasol is probably the best passer on the team along with Lin and Kyle Lowry. He has no problem standing on the 3-point arc, drawing out the defense and feeding guards cutting inside, like in one of Lin’s 3 field goals. Lin also had a few “hockey” assists through Gasol in this game.
These come from Lin pushing the ball inside or doing what he does best, which is drive to the paint and create havoc for the defense. Regardless of what happens with his shot, this is his bread & butter. And there was a nice fadeaway jumper for the second straight game. Maybe that’s his shot from now on? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The shot man, the shot. Not the technique or mechanics – they seem fine. The shot selection isn’t perfect, but it’s not impossible shots that none of them should be sinking into the net. Lin is just in a funk, a long one. He’s yet to hit a 3-pointer with the Raptors and is making only 19% of his 3-pointers over the last 23 games. The Raptors made a good deal by adding him to their bench, giving them something different to backup Lowry and partner with him, but that deal would be a whole lot sweeter if Lin found his outside stroke again.
Lin’s stats: 55 games, 19.8 minutes, 10.5 points, 3.6 assists, 45.6% from the field, 30.8% from three, 84.4% from the line.