(Update:Jeremy Lin sat out tonight’s game due to injury. Rockets beat the Thunder 105-103, but are down in the best of seven series 3 games to 1)
A blog by Robert White for Rant Sports asserts that Rocket coach Kevin McHale made a mistake when he chose to start Jeremy Lin in game three of the playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder were forced to adjust without starting point guard Kevin Westbrook who is out with a torn lateral meniscus.
Lin himself was a game time decision having suffered a chest contusion in game 2.
“That’s a big decision for us,” McHale told Ultimate Rockets (The Houston Chronicle) before Game 3. “He couldn’t do a lot of stuff last night. We’re going to have to wait and see. It doesn’t do any good for him to play if he can’t help us. We’ll see.”
McHale chose to start Lin, but he was only able to play 18 minutes and score two points. He played with obvious pain, at one point grimacing and clutching his chest after a collision.
But what choice did McHale really have? Patrick Beverley, the back up point guard, started the game as well in a three guard set. He shot only 3 for 10 and Aaron Brooks, McHale’s other option, hasn’t shown anything all season.
When it’s playoff time, you have to throw your best team out there and Lin is clearly one of the Rockets best players, injured or not. Take Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors who played with a bad hamstring and gimpy ankle and scored 31 points in a victory over the Denver Nuggets Sunday.
Unfortunately, Lin wasn’t able to produce Saturday and the Rockets are down 3 games to nothing after losing 104-101.
Meanwhile, my blog post
criticizing Lin’s play during the playoffs angered one of his many loyal fans. An anonymous poster wrote:
“This is a highly biased article. You mentioned the first three playoff games and his scores, but forgot to include the fact that everyone played poorly the first game, that Lin was injured during 2nd game and could not play, thus affecting his score. During game 3, he tried to play, but his injury was aggravated by KD. You should be fair as a journalist, and not cherry pick your numbers: “way down from 17 pts”.
Long time readers of this blog know I’m a big time supporter of Jeremy Lin. He’s averaging less than 5 points a game in the playoffs versus 17 points during the last month of the regular season. The Rockets faced long odds trying to unseat the number seed in the Western Conference and only a dose of Linsanity together with James Harden’s usually herculean effort was going to make this series even close. I would love to be writing a different story right now. I would love to be writing about how Lin has put the Rockets in a position to upset the Thurnder. Unfortunately that’s not the story.
That hasn’t happened, so I pointed that out.
What do you think of Jeremy Lin’s overall play in the playoffs so far? Should he get a pass because of the injury he suffered in game 2. Leave your comments below.