Jeremy Lin didn’t play against the Los Angeles Lakers due to back tightness. It didn’t stop the Brooklyn Nets from winning 107-97, but the team’s procedure of notifying the fans about Lin’s injury leaves a few questions that probably lead to not so innocent answers.
First, Jeremy Lin. The Nets had shootaround, and usually NBA teams give an injury report. So earlier in the day, Lin was fine, and was going to play his second game of his hamstring-injury comeback. But then came the announcement that due to back tightness, he’s a gametime decision. And later on, he was confirmed out.
Maybe it was just a last minute thing, and the Nets really did expect him to play. But when you add up the franchise’s behavior when it comes to the over-secrecy regarding injuries and their poor attendance numbers when Lin isn’t playing. The Nets are 25th in the NBA in average attendance with just over 15,000 showing up to each game. They’re 23rd in seats being filled at 83.2%. Against the Lakers, not a team that draws in the fans like during the Kobe Bryant days, the Nets had 17,732, full capacity. Again, maybe it was a last-minute minor injury crisis, but it seems a lot like the Nets milked their fans by withholding information they should have given them. Lin has quickly turned into the number one draw for the Nets. Who knows, maybe they were never going to play him twice in three nights, and that back excuse was thought of way before Wednesday.
What now? Lin practiced with the Nets today, and right now is a game-time decision. According to Lin, there’s nothing serious about his back tightness (something that has bothered him a few times during his career). The next game friday against the Orlando Magic, and it being on the road gives the Nets less of a reason to play these Jedi mind tricks on their fans and their opponents. If he’ll actually be out, he’s really injured.
We finish with the Nets themselves, who held an opponent to under 111 points for the first time since November 12, and kept a team under 100 points for the first time since November 4. Brook Lopez scored 20 points, Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 23 (they were losing by 8 points with him on the floor) and 22 from Sean Kilpatrick. Isaiah Whitehead had one of his better games this season, scoring 8 points in 24 minutes, and Joe Harris knocked down a few three pointers to finish with 11 off the bench.
The Nets are off to play three games on the road – Orlando, Toronto, Philadelphia. Two of these games are winnable, especially if Lin is going to play. With a day of rest between each game and this back thing suddenly an issue, don’t be too surprised if Lin doesn’t find himself playing 40 minutes each game. Don’t be surprised if he’s rested for a real or bogus reason in one of these games as well.