The Charlotte Hornets are on a roll, beating the Dallas Mavericks 108-94 behind a very good Al Jefferson performance, while Jeremy Lin had his worst game since joining the team.
Some nights are like this. The ball doesn’t go in, and it creates this weird chain reaction of mistakes – turnovers, foolish fouls. Lin did make some nice defensive plays and was on the floor for a couple of nice runs by the Hornets, but overall, playing 17 minutes, it was the kind of game he’d like to forget, even if he did more than the box score shows. He finished with 7 points, 2 steals and 1 block, shooting 3-of-8 from the field, but 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Jefferson finished with 31 points as the Hornets realized his huge advantage in the post against the Mavs, who don’t really have anyone who can defend him down low. He finished with 15-of-18 from the field. Jefferson had just two games of more than 30 points last season, and had the best shooting day of his career while taking so many shots. He did it all in just 27 minutes, adding 9 rebounds as well.
And with that advantage in the books, the Hornets didn’t need a whole lot from anyone else. Jeremy Lamb had another good game off the bench with 16 points, working well next to Lin during their minutes together and Marvin Williams, not the best of offensive players, scored 17 points that may or may not be the season high for him when 2015-2016 ends. Yes, it’s that rare to see him look relatively smooth on offense. Kemba Walker had 14 points and 7 assists, finishing with just 4-of-11 from the field.
While panicking or worrying about Lin’s performance isn’t necessary, one thing that should come to mind is his minutes. He played 36 minutes in the Hornets two victories. They didn’t win because he didn’t spend a lot of time on the floor. The Hornets were usually better when he played, even if his shooting wasn’t brilliant. But one might be concerned with the idea that might be slowly brewing in Steve Clifford’s head – that pushing Lin towards the 20-minutes zone is actually helpful for his team.
The Hornets simply played to their strength in this particular game which worked out very well. On most nights, keeping Lin away from the ball and the floor for so long won’t be so rewarding.