It was the beginning of the season and still a time for adjustment for Jeremy Lin. He had entered the season as the focal point of the Houston Rockets offense. But just days before the start of the season, the Rockets acquired James Harden in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and suddenly the ball was no longer Lin’s.
The first option for the Rockets was now Harden. Not only would Lin have to adjust to a new team, he had to adjust to a new offensive strategy the Rockets didn’t have a chance to practice during the preseason because Harden wasn’t yet with the team.
Less than a month into the season, Lin would return to Madison Square Garden to face his old team, the New York Knicks.
Lin responded with his best game of then young season, scoring 22 points with nine assists and two steals in a 109-96 Rockets victory.
“To me, that was the turning point of my season was those two games – in between,” Lin said to CSN’s Howard Chen. “I think, before that, I had been really really struggling. I wasn’t really doing much. I was lost on the court. I was just lost. I didn’t feel in rhythm or I didn’t feel like I was doing much of anything. And after that, the New York game kind of turned things around. And after that, that’s when I started to just improve and play better and get better and I think our team – we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and what works and what doesn’t work.”
Some of Lin’s biggest fans have been critical of Rocket coach Kevin Mchale for the inconsistent minutes he’s given Lin, often benching him in the fourth quarter and making Lin the third option of the Rockets’ offense behind Harden and Chandler Parsons.
If Lin is upset at his role, he isn’t showing it. He has nothing but admiration for his coach and what he has gone through this season following the death of his daughter.
“Coach has been through a lot,” Lin said. “No one knows exactly what he’s been through. None of the players. We haven’t been through a tragedy like that, but I remember every time I feel like things are going rough on my end, I always try to think about Coach, you know, how he has to show up to work every day with a smile on his face, get to work even though he had to mourn the death of a loved one. Just his determination to come back as quickly as he came back and join the team – we’ve all grown to really respect him for that.”
You can watch Howard Chen’s interview with Lin on CSN’.