We seem to be entering a pattern in this ‘Atlanta Hawks’ phase of Jeremy Lin’s career, if you can call two games a pattern. A good individual performance by the comeback-ing player, while the team gets blown out.
Lin played 23 minutes and scored a team high 23 points, which is also a season high for him, and also his highest scoring game since his final appearance in the 2016-2017 season, when he dropped 26 points on the Boston Celtics. We’re going to see a lot of ‘most/highest since…’ this season with Lin as his minutes tally picks up.
Lin carried on with the trend of looking more aggressive in his approach with the ball compared to the previous game. He took whoever was guarding him to the basket, and had no problem putting himself in favorable positions again and again, whether it was Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason III or De’Aaron Fox on him. Lin is bigger than them and has a killer first step, which easily got him into the paint, finishing with 8-of-13 from the field, with six of those field goals coming from inside the paint (which also got him to the line quite often). He also connected twice from beyond the arc, but was 2-for-7 from there, and his shot selection from deep still needs some tweaking.
Defensively, Lin did have that tip-block on Willie Cauley-Stein which is a signature Lin move – waiting for the opportune moment to not just reject a player (often a big man) from behind, but force the turnover. His defense is far from where it was before the injury, but the Hawks as a team defend horrendously, so it’s really difficult to gauge where individual players on this team are defensively.
The Hawks lost by 31 points to the Sacramento Kings (146-115), dropping their fourth consecutive game, all of them double digit losses, giving up 281 points in their last two alone. The franchise is mostly concerned with developing Trae Young, but this team hitting garbage time so early each game isn’t good for anyone.
Lin’s scoring average rose to 8 points in 15.6 minutes after this performance – but we need to see him playing these kind of minutes with the game on the line.