As the Charlotte Hornets easily go through the Brooklyn Nets with a 113-99 win that saw the usual contribution from Kemba Walker and some surprising one from Troy Daniels, Jeremy Lin had one of those games that didn’t really stand out as either good or bad, while his fans made a much bigger impact by going after unjust officiating against him, and in a way against anyone who isn’t considered a star by the officials and the NBA.
But first to the game: Lin played 27 minutes, including 12 of them in the final quarter, basically garbage time. He finished with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting, adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists, turning the ball over four times. Some nice moments, but not a game anyone is really going to remember for him. He was part of the crew that pushed the Hornets into some better basketball during the second quarter as they began to pull away from the Nets, but without forcing himself onto the game (never actually does) and taking matters into his own hands, the credit and scoring fell upon other shoulders.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 22 points, including four three pointers. He split the scoring between the two halves, but didn’t push the tempo enough during the first quarter and the Hornets have the players and the tools in some lineups to play quicker basketball which against certain teams is deadly. With Walker being the main ball handler on the team and the one spending more minutes than anyone on the floor more often than not, it’s going to be much better if he tries to push for quicker possessions through drives to the basket, and not let it all fall on whatever it is he can do in the half court.
Besides Walker, Daniels shined (something that happens two, three times a year) with 17 points including five three pointers. Nicolas Batum scored 14 points to go with 6 rebounds and 6 assists and Cody Zeller had 5 blocks. No one played exceptionally well but no one was bad either. The Hornets simply played solid on defense and had enough on offense to make it look rather easy against a bad team that’s trying to figure out how to get back on the horse again next season.
While the Hornets show their commitment to the players they want to keep around like Walker with a campaign for an award he simply can’t win (it’s C.J. McCollum by a landslide), Lin fans, tired of seeing their favorite player getting hacked time after time and never seeing the refs respond accordingly, made the Jeremy Lin: Too Flagrant Not to Call that is already past the 250k views on Youtube, and reached the front page of reddit with close to 6000 karma points and counting, which rarely happens on a r/nba video. Whether it actually makes the NBA admit (there was also an email sent to the league regarding the issue) to anything malicious or openly criticize their referees remains to be seen, but it’s another example of the Lin fan base going all out to protect their favorite player in a creative way, and one which might actually (although chances are slim) change something in the way NBA games are officiated. Not just when it comes to Lin, but in general for players who don’t fall under the “star treatment” category.
It’s a season sweep for the Hornets over the Nets, improving to 46-33 which means they can’t finish lower than the sixth seed. How about the third and fourth? The key game is probably in Boston, while the visit to Washington (out of the playoffs officially) and a home game against Orlando should be must wins, although giving some players like Walker or Batum a rest would be beneficial. However, with the margin of error in the race for home court in the first round so small, the Hornets probably won’t be able to enjoy that luxury.