Despite being a team in the midst of an abysmal tanking era, the Philadelphia 76ers are a good unit defensively, which makes the performance given by Jeremy Lin in a rare Los Angeles Lakers win (101-87) even more impressive.
Jeremy Lin had his best game of the season in the win, scoring 29 points on 10-of-16 from the field with 5 rebounds and 5 assists in just 29 minutes. For the first time in a long while, he played more minutes than Jordan Clarkson, who played poorly (8 points, 2-of-8 from the field) in his 28 minutes. No matter how much Scott tries to help him pad his numbers, Clarkson just isn’t a guy who should be a starting point guard. Not now, not on this team.
Byron Scott seemed surprised to see Lin do so well: I thought he was great. He made great decisions. On the offensive end, he got guys involved. Defensively, he was where he was supposed to be and he did a lot of good things at that end of the floor as well. This comes from a coach who has added nothing to his players all season long. Nothing to improve them, and his only changes have been moving players in and out of the lineup.
Brett Brown had plenty of compliments for Lin, but it’s hard to say if he was actually sad that his players failed to defend him. Remember, the Sixers are masters of tanking as well. We tried to double-team Lin with about seven minutes left, and he still found ways to score. We tried multiple people on him and tried to get length on him with Jerami Grant. We tried to blitz him and searched to try to find ways to defend him, but we struggled all night.
We’ll keep the Scott bashing to a minimum this time, because his mother passed away, and although what happens away from the basketball court shouldn’t have an influence on the opinion of people on what goes on during games, he deserves a break (not that he actually cares what we write about him, probably). The Lakers are also getting a break from him, as he’ll be away for the funeral with Phil Pressey taking his place for the next two games.
What worked so well for Lin this time? It’s hard to put a finger on something. He just started really strong, and unlike other games, Scott didn’t kill off the momentum. Lin played just as aggressively as he did in worse games, but things worked well for him early on and he got the chance to follow up on that. An incredible idea; letting the players who are playing well stay on the floor.
With 14 games left in the season, don’t expect the Lakers to suddenly go on a winning spree to reclaim their lost honor. At 18-50, it’s quite certain the finish will be less than impressive. For personally for Lin and other players on this team that need to think about their next contract, maybe this is a sign that there’s still hope to make an impression, hoping that Scott doesn’t get in the way anymore.
Lin is the best player on this sad looking team. He’s the most exciting player and the only one who can really put on a show for the fans, either by scoring himself or by making other better. It’s time the Lakers do a little bit something for the fans who suffered quite a lot this season instead of being wrapped up in silly calculations about lottery chances and putting their faith in the hands of lady luck instead of the talent of basketball players.