Filipino-American Jason Brickman lead the nation in assists and became fourth player to 1,000 assists in NCAA Div 1

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Senior point guard Jason Brickman closed out his LIU Brooklyn career by becoming just the fourth player in NCAA history to record 1,000 assists in the Blackbirds’ 81-62 loss to Bryant on Saturday.

Brickman, who had 12 assists in the game, tied his own LIU and Northeast Conference single-season record with 290 assists in 2013-14. In the process, he also became just the second player in men’s college basketball history to average a double-double in points and assists in a year (Avery Johnson — Southern, 1987-88).

Needing only three assists to join an exclusive club that featured just three members, Brickman got things started with a backdoor feed to redshirt junior Troy Joseph at the 16:11 mark of the first half. Less than four minutes later, he found Joseph for a 3-pointer to give him 999 for his four-year career.

The 3-ball from Joseph and a free throw from sophomore E.J. Reed pulled the Blackbirds within four at 15-11 at the 11:51 mark. But a 9-2 spurt by Bryant that was capped by a layup from Alex Francis bumped the margin to double digits, 34-23, with 8:50 remaining in the opening half.

On the ensuing possession, the historic assist came to fruition as Brickman dished to junior Gerrell Martin for a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run that brought LIU within 24-20. He finished the half with six assists, and the Blackbirds went into the locker room with the same four-point deficit, 36-32.

The second half was one mired by offensive struggles for LIU Brooklyn, as the team missed its first nine shots and turned the ball over five times in the first 6:34. The Bulldogs built a 19-point lead over the stretch, with Corey Maynard leading the way with 11 points during the span to give his team control.

Brickman finally got the offense going with an assist on another 3-ball from Martin, then assisted on a layup by junior Gilbert Parga to pull LIU within 56-42 near the midway point of the period. That margin is as close as it would get, however, as Bryant built up a comfortable margin the rest of the way.

The only drama down the stretch was whether or not Brickman would secure a double-digit average for the season. Needing three more dimes with 2:40 to go, he threaded the needle with a pass to Reed for a difficult layup down low. On LIU’s next possession, Joseph cut through the middle of the lane for a contested hoop off a pass from Brickman to put him one away.

After a couple missed opportunities, Brickman finally got his 12th assist on a backdoor cut to Martin for a layup with 40 seconds remaining. Brickman, who finishes his career with 1,009 to rank fourth all-time, exited to a standing ovation for the final time in his LIU Brooklyn career.

via LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman becomes fourth player to 1,000 assists | NCAA.com.

Jeremy Lin News: Could Houston Rockets Guard’s Inconsistency Hurt His Playing Time During NBA Playoffs?

It’s been a little more than a week since Beverley went down, possibly for the season, thanks to a meniscus injury, one almost similar to the one that ended Lin’s magical 2012 NBA season in New York, which led to Lin getting a dramatic increase in playing time. Prior to that, Lin’s minutes were largely fluctuating coming off the bench for Houston, with the inconsistency in playing time and some nagging injuries causing his numbers to slip after the All-Star break, his scoring average dipping from 13.3 points prior to the All-Star break to 11.1 points afterwards and his shooting dropping from 46.6 percent to 40 percent during that period.

After Beverley’s ill-timed injury, Lin was expected to get a boost in his offensive categories thanks to more playing time and, by default, more shooting opportunities. So far, Lin’s scoring opportunities have definitely increased over his last five games, his field goal attempts climbing from 9.1 in his last 23 games to 12.8 shots per game within the last week. Yet, that increase in shots has only translated into marginal gains, at best, in key offensive areas…

via Jeremy Lin News: Could Houston Rockets Guard’s Inconsistency Hurt His Playing Time During NBA Playoffs? : Sports : Latino Post.

Jeremy Lin’s spark can light Rockets’ fire

The Rockets look powerful when Dwight Howard is making his presence felt in the low post, grabbing rebounds for put-backs, spinning in the lane to drop in those jump hooks he’s honing in during workouts with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.

The Rockets look like a tough nut to crack when James Harden is weaving like a wild-eyed taxi driver through traffic in the lane to finish for improbable layups and stepping back to stab in his long 3-pointers with ease.

But the Rockets become positively confounding to defenders when Jeremy Lin is doing all of the things he can do. Which is why Lin’s recent emergence from a slump is worth noting.

“We need Jeremy,” said coach Kevin McHale. “He just makes a lot of things happen and when he is rolling it just gives us more versatility to do different things.”

While there will never be a return to the “Linsanity” days in New York, that ability to strike inside and out, create for his teammates, get all the way to the rim and hit a critical shot from the outside is what can elevate Houston to being the most difficult offense to stop in the Western Conference.

The Rockets don’t need him to be the big hammer in their attack as much as a bowling ball that strikes and send pins…

via Lin’s spark can light Rockets’ fire « Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith | NBA.com.

Jeremy Lin demands more minutes: Kevin McHale’s blatant misuse stings

News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Desperate and running out of time, Kevin McHale finally frees his banished star.

This is how it goes for Jeremy Lin. When the Houston Rockets coach has exhausted every other possible way to try and win the game, he might give Lin a chance to make a difference. McHale will throw Lin into an impossible position and see what happens.

More often than it should, more than often than anyone has a right to expect considering how often Lin’s been jerked around, something like Sunday night happens. Lin pops off the bench, receives his first extended playing time in 17 days and goes crazy. He drops in 26 points, hits the go-ahead jumper in overtime, gets to the free throw line 12 times and makes up for starting point guard Patrick Beverley’s hideous zero assist, minus-two, 36-minute game.

Jeremy Lin can still play. He still has moments of pure basketball insanity in him. He just needs a real chance.

It’s the kind of performance that screams out for more playing time. Demands it.

With every fearless drive and pull-up jumper, Jeremy Lin serves notice that the Rockets need him in order to be anything more than another Houston team that goes on a dazzling second half of the season run only to flame out early in the playoffs (remember those 22-game-win-streak, 55-wins-overall 2007-08 Rockets who promptly bowed out to the Utah Jazz in the first round?) When Lin turns and unleashes a full-throat scream after one overtime dagger, he might as well be yelling at all the doubters.

Yes, Jeremy Lin can still play. He still has moments of pure basketball insanity in him. He just needs a real chance. More than once every eight games.

“If you ask me it feels good, yeah it feels good,” Lin tells the TV cameras after the great escape against a Portland team that still fancies itself as one of the Western Conference elite.

Lin’s demise hasn’t just been greatly exaggerated. It’s been completely orchestrated by a coach whose doghouse seems dictated by personal beliefs rather than player performance.

What other player in the NBA has a player whose capable of dropping in 26 points off the bench one night and racking up a triple double as a reserve on another?

It’s like the Rockets have a Jamal Crawford and an Evan Turner coming off their bench — only they’re barely playing him.

The other Rockets are starting to acknowledge Lin’s unmistakable talent.

“Jeremy Lin had an amazing game,,” Dwight Howard tells the CSN cameras after the Portland comeback.

Even the commentators on the the Rockets’ own cable network are beginning to recognize the faulty strategy of continually benching and belittling Lin.

Damon Jones — the former Miami Heat guard turned CSN Rockets analyst — argued on air days before the Portland explosion that Lin is not being given a fair chance to produce or break out of any so-called slump.

“He only played 16 minutes the other night,” Jones says. “You can’t find a rhythm in 16 minutes.”

Jones found himself debating against 610 AM host Nick Wright, who always seems to be on the bully side raging against anyone whose draft status and demeanor don’t fit his definition of what a professional athlete should look like (see Case Keenum).

There’s no denying it now though. Lin’s 26-point throwdown demands that he needs more time.

Oklahoma City Conundrum

On almost any other team in the NBA, with any other coach, Lin’s latest star turn would guarantee him instant increased playing time. This trend of yanking away his starting job for no sound reason, the reducing of him from the sixth man to virtually the eighth man, would end with that fourth quarter. On any other team, with any other coach.

After all, Lin shattered the notion that he and James Harden can’t excel together. They dominate the fourth quarter and overtime as a duo. When Harden — the rightful repeat Western Conference Player of the Week — isn’t hitting a big shot, Lin is knocking one down.

There’s no denying it now though. Lin’s 26-point throwdown demands that he needs more time.

This represents the Rockets at their most offensively dangerous.

Unfortunately, these are also the Rockets of McHale’s senseless and very selective quick hook.

Lin could be reduced to a bit player again as soon as Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. It doesn’t matter how hot he comes into the night. There’s a good chance McHale will try and see if can win the game without him.

Jeremy Lin’s play couldn’t be screaming any louder for a larger role and a real chance.

But does anyone really think Kevin McHale has any interest in listening?

via Jeremy Lin demands more minutes: Kevin McHale’s blatant misuse stings – CultureMap Houston.

Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Disappearing in Favor of Harden-Ball & Patrick Beverley

Jeremy Lin e1393856276927 Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Disappearing in Favor of Harden Ball & Patrick Beverley

Statistically and analytically, the Houston Rockets play their best lineups when they don’t include Jeremy Lin. However, the decision to pretty much give up on his importance and contribution, while handing the team over completely to James Harden and his sidekick, the overrated Patrick Beverley.

Things change quickly in the NBA, especially when you have a head coach who is out to get you. I’m not saying Kevin McHale made a decision at the beginning of last season to derail Lin’s career, but it’s quite clear that he and his coaching staff don’t hold him in high regard, and prefer to spend as much time as possible with him on the bench or not playing next to key players.

Lin had a very good stretch in late January and early February. Beverley not playing, or Harden not playing, didn’t just make him look very good, but the entire Rockets team play like a completely different team. But the last couple of weeks? Since the loss to the Golden State Warriors, it seems like Lin has been demoted. A team with only him as a viable backup guard (not just point guard) should play him a bit more than 17-to-20 minutes a night, but he’s averaging only 19.5 minutes over the last four games.

And when you get to that point, it’s hard to stand out, especially when it’s a player like Lin. Numbers are nice, but some players aren’t measured by stats. As Stan Van Gundy said during the Sloan Sports Analytics conference, statistics and analytics are very nice but they don’t always mean that much. Some things can only be seen by watching and understanding, and not from looking at box scores and digested stat columns.

Maybe if Lin was different he’d be making it about scoring 10-12 points during the 15-20 minutes he has on the floor; take a page from the James Harden book. But Lin isn’t that kind of player, in term of personality and his abilities. He’s an excellent passer and penetrates as well as Harden, but he doesn’t have that ability to draw fouls and finish near the rim while three bodies are banging at him.

James Harden Patrick Beverley Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Disappearing in Favor of Harden Ball & Patrick Beverley

It doens’t make him less of a player, or any less important to the Rockets, but he has fallen into certain perceptions it is hard to shake. A bad defender for example. When Beverley started getting more minutes last season, he was referred to as a good defender. But we’ve seen how badly he’s done this season against quality players. Maybe there’s more of a pesky quality to him Lin doesn’t, but he’s more than slightly overrated as a defender.

When a team wins, it’s hard to argue with a head coach and his decisions. The Rockets have dropped a game to the Clippers because of that hero-ball McHale is so proud of, but Harden isn’t measured by the same rigid standards Lin is. When a player has to be perfect to get minutes and even that doesn’t help, there’s not much left for him to do but actually hope, deep inside, that someone on this team gets injured so his minutes go up and his importance is revealed again.

But Lin isn’t like this; he understands the situation, which isn’t helping him play any better due to the shakiness of his minutes, the lineups he’s with and obviously being affected by the depreciation of his standing in the eyes of his coach for whatever reason McHale has. When the Rockets get knocked out of the playoffs because they didn’t have a confident point guard to help them out, it won’t be surprising if for some reason the fingers will be pointed at Lin, instead of where they really should be directed.

via Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Disappearing in Favor of Harden-Ball & Patrick Beverley | Sportige.

Yuta Watanabe opts to go to George Washington University

Japanese basketball phenom Yuta Watanabe will commit to George Washington University next season, he revealed on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

“I’ve decided to go to George Washington University,” Watanabe tweeted. “The school has a good basketball team, too. I’m sure I’ll have hard times both in basketball and academics, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Watanabe reportedly received an offer from Fordham University as well. According to ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein, Watanabe was torn between George Washington and Fordham until recently.

The 19-year-old has attended St. Thomas More School, a preparatory school in Oakdale, Connecticut, since last fall and has been a core player of its men’s basketball team.

GWU is located in Washington, D.C., and its men’s basketball team belongs to the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Colonials have made the NCAA Tournament 10 times and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1993.

George Washington has produced several NBA players. In addition, legendary former Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach graduated from the school.

Watanabe, a native of Kagawa Prefecture, will become one of very few Japanese-born men to have played at an NCAA Division I school, following in the footsteps of Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui and Taishi Ito, both of whom played for Division I schools in the U.S., Columbia and Portland, respectively, before returning to Japan.

According to Ben Standig of Comcast Sportsnet Washington, Watanabe will become the fifth international player on the Colonials’ 2014-15 roster.

Watanabe, who was listed as 201 cm last year but is presumably taller now, gained recognition by guiding his Jinsei High School team to runnerup finishes in 2011 and 2012 in the All-Japan Tournament.

He has also already played for the Japan national team.

via Watanabe opts to go to George Washington U. | The Japan Times.

‘Linsanity’ Makes a Comeback in China

The morning of Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, was the evening of Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in the U.S. In New York’s Madison Square Garden, the Knicks were playing the Nets, and at my Shanghai gym, a larger than normal crowd of fit Shanghainese were gathered around a television to watch the live broadcast.

This was the first time I’d seen significant interest in a National Basketball Association game since the retirement of national hero Yao Ming a year earlier, and I found all the excitement curious. It wasn’t until I arrived home and logged onto the then-thriving Sina Weibo service that I found out what the hubbub was all about: a Taiwanese-American, ethnically Chinese reserve point guard by the name of Jeremy Lin had single-handedly sparked a Knicks win with 25 points on 10 for 19 shooting, seven assists and five rebounds.

The game wasn’t over more than two hours before ecstatic Chinese sports fans started driving Lin’s name up trending-topic lists, and Linsanity, the Chinese edition, was underway. Over the next few weeks, Lin put up record-setting numbers (since the 1976-77 season no player had scored more points in his first three starts — not even Larry Bird or Michael Jordan) and catalyzed a Knicks win streak. He inspired tens of millions of tweets, hundreds if not thousands of news stories and blog posts, and the patriotic pride of millions of Chinese and several eager-to-take-credit public officials. If, in the U.S., Lin’s was a rags-to-riches story, in China it was something much more profound.

Why, Chinese microbloggers asked, couldn’t China produce a basketball player as talented as Lin? Was there something wrong with how China trained its athletes or did the problem go deeper? And why, they wondered, did it take so long for Lin’s talents to be noticed in the U.S.? Was race a factor?

Then, just 26 games and one season-ending surgery later, Linsanity was over. Rather than return to New York, Lin signed with Houston for the 2012-13 season, where he was expected to become a face — if not the face — of the franchise. But Lin quickly regressed from the torrid pace he’d set during Linsanity. In the last two years, he’s established himself as a mostly average backup point guard overshadowed by two much bigger and more talented stars.

The drop-off has had an obvious impact in China, where Lin’s name rarely trends outside of sports discussions, which are now often concerned with whether he’s really so great, after all, or just in need of a new team. “Actually, his ability is indeed limited, and not nearly as excellent as some sports commentators say,” tweeted a representative Sina Weibo user back on Jan. 9. “Although I also hope he’ll be great, his ability and strength can’t compare with top players! Can’t we be more objective?”

Not everyone is ready to accept the decline of Lin into an average (overpaid) NBA point guard so easily. Indeed, a strong thread in the Chinese discussion of Lin’s fall from grandeur remains the role that race has played in his journey. This argument was expounded most recently by Pan Jinqin, a veteran Beijing sports reporter, in a Nov. 13 op-ed for Hong Kong-based Phoenix Sports, entitled: “Jeremy Lin will always be discriminated against in the NBA.”

It is, in many respects, an ugly and paranoid piece that impugns the motives of many in the NBA, including Rockets head coach and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale: “McHale said several times last season that Linsanity wouldn’t last, and that Lin should stop pursuing the glory of it. Nonetheless, when an African-American such as [rookie of the year candidate] Michael Carter Williams has the same kinds of performances, why does he receive only praise and no doubts?”

The answer, as Pan sees it, is discrimination against Lin and other ethnically Chinese athletes, quieted only when they perform at a level that exceeds the norm.

For Lin, conveniently, that performance came on Saturday in Houston , days before the second anniversary of Linsanity, when he scored his first career triple-double in a win against Cleveland (a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that he did it coming off the bench). By mid-afternoon on Feb. 2 (the day the game was played in China), Lin was trending strongly on Sina Weibo (a service now much reduced in influence and interest). His performance was generating hundreds of tweets per hour from fans who had apparently been waiting for two years for something about which to cheer.

For those willing to accept the NBA as a league where talent determines playing time, Lin has become a welcome symbol of perseverance. “The first triple double in Lin’s professional career!” tweeted Tian Zhaohui, a popular Chinese basketball commentator, shortly after the game. “Congratulations! Behind his successes are hardships that few people know.”

As praise, this hardly matches the garlands of two years ago. But as a basis upon which to build a career and Chinese fanbase, it’s a far more comfortable place to be.

via ‘Linsanity’ Makes a Comeback in China – Bloomberg.

Jeremy Lin ignores the disses & Tim Tebow treatment to show he’s elite

News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

It’d be easy for Jeremy Lin to lose confidence. It’d be easy for him to retreat into a shell. It’d be easy for him to start tuning out (a la Omer Asik) and just wait and hope against hope for a trade to deliver him a real opportunity.

He’s been dismissed, dissed and marginalized during his second season in Houston, treated like a spare part by his own coach.

Yes, Jeremy Lin could have checked out a long time ago.

Instead when the Houston Rockets need him most, when James Harden is out, when Patrick Beverley wants no part of facing off against Tony Parker, when Chandler Parsons is colder than a winter storm warning, when Kevin McHale has no choice but to use Lin like a real starting NBA player for once, the marginalized man delivers. Jeremy Lin saves the Rockets in that come-from-behind 97-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

It’s impossible to deny that. Just like there’s no denying he plays like an elite level point guard when he’s allowed 44 minutes of playing time.

One might think that Lin’s performance against the Spurs will grant him more leeway in the future. Anyone who watches the Rockets knows better.

It’s not just the 18 points and eight assists. It’s not just the tough pull-up jumper — the kind of mid-range shot that Calvin Murphy’s been begging the Rockets to seize for weeks — he fearlessly takes and hits with 48 seconds left to seal the win. The night is a lesson in what a high-level point guard can do for a team when he’s given a real chance to make an impact.

The Rockets look as lost and inept on offense in the first part of the Spurs game as they did in those back-to-back putrid meltdowns againdt the Memphis Grizzlies.

The difference? This time Jeremy Lin gets enough playing time to find a rhythm and he drags the Rockets along with him. His third quarter turns the game around, ensures San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will be grumpy in sideline interviews for weeks to come.

Jeremy Lin’s Takeover

Lin hits a corner three to open the third and quickly adds two free throws, but it’s his passing that changes everything. He puts up three assists in the quarter, but that barely begins to demonstrate his impact. He makes the rest of the Rockets better, exactly what a point guard is supposed to do.

“He really caught a rhythm in that third quarter and it was really good for our team,” McHale says in his postgame news conference broadcast on CSN.

When Kevin McHale has no choice but to use Lin like a real starting NBA player for once, the marginalized man delivers.

Of course, Lin “caught” a rhythm because McHale actually played him long enough for it to happen — for once. The coach doesn’t just play Lin the first eight minutes of the second half (time he’d be sitting in any other game), he also brings him right back in after a short rest so he can finish the third. Yet rather than acknowledging that this is the major difference in Lin’s play — opportunity — McHale talks like he’s divorced from having anything to do with it.

Earlier in the same news conference, McHale says Lin needs to play “aggressive.” This from the coach who often takes him out at the first sign of a mistake.

It’s almost like the Rockets coach is auditioning for a part in some new age version of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

One might think that Lin’s performance against the Spurs will grant him more leeway in the future, starting with the Wednesday night game in Dallas. But anyone who’s watched the Rockets knows better.

As soon as Harden is back — if not sooner — Jeremy Lin will found himself downgraded and dismissed again as the offense is run through lesser playmakers like Beverley and Parsons.

No modern day athlete outside of Tim Tebow has been this doubted. Only Jeremy Lin has the game tape to back him up that Tebow’s never had. So what?

It will matter little that Lin saved the Rockets against the Spurs. It means zilch that he’s shown he still has the potential to deliver Linsanity level numbers when given a real opportunity (Lin himself is the first to admit he misses several drives against San Antonio that he should hit — that’s what happens when you’ve been kept out of rhythm). It doesn’t even matter that the coaches clearly choose to put Lin rather than that fantasy land “defensive stopper” Patrick Beverley on Tony Parker in the big game (Beverley himself even motions for Lin to take Parker late in the fourth quarter).

Reality has a tenuous hold on these Houston Rockets.

It’s even bled into the stands where the murmurs after a few great, attacking Lin drives that don’t fall against San Antonio are loud and clear. Everyone knows you’re supposed to doubt Jeremy Lin.

Lin will be banished to the bench for endless stretches again soon enough. No matter what he does. No matter how much the Rockets offense continually breaks down without a true point guard. (Houston’s already scored under 90 points three times since Jan. 10 and that doesn’t even include that 19-point second half game against Oklahoma City.)

No matter. Jeremy Lin will be made to wait for another real opportunity. He’ll have his confidence tested, his resolve challenged, his patience probed. Maybe this time he’ll break.

Just don’t count on it.

via Jeremy Lin ignores the disses & Tim Tebow treatment to show he’s elite – CultureMap Houston.

Surprise! Houston Rockets get scared by their mascot

Jeremy Lin keeps his cool. Chandler Parsons, not so much.



Is there anything funnier than watching grown men get the crap scared out of them? You never know what kind of sneaky surprise might be waiting to pounce in the Houston Rockets clubhouse. In this video, a seemingly inanimate Clutch the Bear, the Rockets’ mascot, suddenly comes to life to prank the unsuspecting passing members of the team — including Jeremy Lin. Take a look:




Tough guys on the court… not so tough in the presence of inflatable bears. Let the record show that our man Jeremy did flinch, but at least he didn’t take a flying scaredy leap like teammate Chandler Parsons. 

As for Francisco Garcia, just take a look at that death stare — you do not want to mess with that guy.

via Surprise! Houston Rockets get scared by their mascot.

Sun Yue becomes MVP to lead North win CBA All-Star game

Xinhua photo


BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — In an emotional Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) All-Star game, former Lakers guard Sun Yue became the MVP and helped the North edged the South 118-102.

Sun scored a team-high 28 points, Hudson added 24 points and 7 assists for the North. Gibson finished with a game-high 32 points, Yi Jianlian contributed 18 points and 9 rebounds to the South, his All-star teammates, Wang Zhizhi, grabbed 15 points and 7 rebounds. Tonight’s game was all about saying good-bye to Wang, who is reported to retire after this season.

“It’s a pity that Wang missed some shots, he intended to give more chances to the youth. I wanna share this award with him. This may be his last All-star game, he taught us so many things that we can benefit from for the rest of our lives,” Sun said.

After years of domination in CBA, Wang Zhizhi became the first Chinese player in NBA, playing for Dallas Mavericks. He returned to CBA in 2006-2007 season, and helped Bayi Rockets grabbed its eighth Championship. In the national team, his contribution was always indispensible.

Sun’s Beijing teammate, Stephon Marbury, missed the game due to knee injury.

Zhejiang guard Wang Zirui became the technique champion with 26.7 seconds. He Tianju from Beijing, who collected 16 points in the game, took the three-point title. Johnson of Zhejiang claimed the Slam King with a game-high 96 points in total.

via Sun Yue becomes MVP to lead North win CBA All-Star game – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin & Offense Suffering From James Harden Syndrome

The signs keep showing everywhere, but the Houston Rockets and their shot callers ignore them. James Harden gets to run almost every possible possession, ignoring the fact that he has Jeremy Lin next to him and others who can make plays, resulting in another unnecessary loss, 80-83 to the Atlanta Hawks.

Credit to the Hawks goes for their defense, but it’s not that difficult with the way the Rockets have been playing this season. James Harden get to run the show for the 38 minutes he’s on the floor. He might end up with pretty numbers: 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, but it goes without saying that there’s more to it than just numbers.

Jeremy Lin finished with 11 points and 4 assists, but instead of getting to run the offense a bit more, he’s once again delegated to the times Harden is stuck with the ball for too long and is waiting for a way out, which usually leaves too few seconds on the clock for anyone to do anything with. Dwight Howard is getting the ball down low, but not nearly enough as he should in pick & rolls and in other situations, which would have made things a lot more beneficial and efficient for the Rockets.

This was the worst offensive performance by the Houston Rockets this season: a season-low 80 points, shooting 41.4% from the field, only 15 assists and turning the ball over 16 times. The Hawks did their homework in slowing the game down - The Rockets are now 20-7 when scoring 100 Pts or more, and 3-7 when they don’t. They’re 0-5 when scoring less than 93 points.

The Hawks might not be among the league’s elite, but they’re a smart team, who know where the ball should go. Jeff Teague wasn’t having the best of scoring nights, but he’s the team’s best decision maker, and runs the show without anyone having a problem with it. He creates for others instead for just himself, allowing a lot of open looks for Kyle Korver who might be having his best season after over a decade in the league, scoring 20 points. Paul Millsap had a big night as well while Pero Antic kept Dwight Howard busy, adding 20 points and 7 rebounds.

The Rockets now fall to 23-14; not a disaster considering the Thunder’s slips without Westbrook, the Spurs having nights off, the Clippers playing without Paul and the Blazers coming down to earth. Houston have problems of their own: No Omer Asik or a decent enough backup for Dwight Howard, and yet they should look much better, especially on offense.

But that’s the difference between a team with big-name players but not thinking behind it all on how to run the show and others who are less talented but have the right people running the ship. Jeremy Lin didn’t have the best of games, but it’s impossible for him, Dwight Howard and others to reach their full potential, which also means a better game for the Rockets, when everything is about Harden doing his thing – dribbling, penetrating, shooting, and passing when he’s in a jam.

Daryl Morey assembled a very talented team, with depth and superstars, filling both ends of the spectrum. The Asik situation has hurt them, but there’s no doubt that the coaching and support for James Harden to continue running the show like there’s no one else on the court is ruining what could have been a much better season up to this point.

via Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin & Offense Suffering From James Harden Syndrome | Sportige.

Why Would adidas Want to Sign Jeremy Lin?

Adidas is on the verge of making another talent acquisition. It’s not another music icon like Kanye West or a highly-regarded fashion designer like Yohji Yamamoto, but a basketball player.

In fact, a pretty average basketball player when compared to adidas’ current roster of stars that includes Dwight Howard, Damian Lillard, John Wall, and (2011) Derrick Rose.

Houston Rocket Jeremy Lin is speculated to be the next NBA pro to join the German sportswear brand. You can argue he’s a decent baller, with season averages of 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. But at best, he’s only the third best player on his team behind Dwight Howard and James Harden. Those usually aren’t the type of statistics that get a player to the NBA All-Star Game, let alone signature sneaker deals.

So why would adidas go through the trouble of trying to bring Lin over from Nike? The simple answer is that it’s more than just basketball. Much like how the NBA is becoming more globalized, sneakers are also becoming much more of an international business.

Why would adidas go through the trouble of trying to bring Lin over from Nike?

Lin proved his worldwide appeal in February of 2012, during his short (but memorable) stint with the New York Knicks. The term “Linsanity” became recognized everywhere, as Lin became an improbable sports story that dominated headlines for three weeks. He led the Knicks to a series of unforeseen victories while Carmelo Anthony was out with an injury. Someone even made a documentary about it. More recently, Linsanity struck again in Taiwan when the Rockets played an exhibition game there past October.

What adidas is getting isn’t just another pro athlete to slap its logo on, but an international commodity. And with both Nike and adidas racing to be the top sportswear brand in the China, according to the Wall Street Journal, it also doesn’t hurt to have an endorser that looks the part.

Of course, the elephant in the room when it comes to anything Jeremy Lin-related is his race. Cue the conspiracy theory that Lin is getting this reported sneaker deal because he’s Asian, while dozens of other deserving, talented black, white, and Hispanic ball players don’t get the same opportunity.

First of all, Lin is Asian-American.

Second of all, it’s more than just stats when it comes to brands choosing which personalities to align with.

Third of all, the key word is personality.

Lin isn’t your average NBA star who played one year at an ACC or SEC school. He has an economics degree from Harvard University, which he completed with a 3.1 grade-point average. He’s also very open and devout with his Christian faith. He’s safest bet for a footwear brand as, arguably, anyone in the NBA.

Lin isn’t your average NBA star who played one year at an ACC or SEC school. He has an economics degree from Harvard University.

These selling points for adidas are huge. Sheer athleticism on the basketball court or football field doesn’t always translate into creating a global fan base. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant excluded.

Take this for example: Put Jeremy Lin into a Google search browser and you’ll fetch about 30.5 million results, which is about 10 million more than his NBA All-Star teammate, James Harden.

That’s something an athlete can’t earn at the gym or through hours of practice. No one has a definitive explanation for how Jeremy Lin got this following, but it’s probably something adidas wants to be a part of.

And you can’t blame adidas for wanting a piece of Linsanity. But Nike’s already been there with quickstrike “Jeremy Lin” Air Force 1s and “Linsanity” graphic T-shirts a couple years ago. By the way, who’s thirsting after that type of merchandise now? Exactly.

No one definitively knows what adidas can accomplish with Jeremy Lin on the roster. (We reached out to the brand who would neither confirm or deny the deal was official). What is known is that over the past couple of years, adidas has built a solid group of players to rock the three stripes on court, from the aforementioned Lillard and Wall, to the likes of Ricky Rubio, Iman Shumpert, Darren Collison, Jrue Holliday, and even seven new rookies this NBA season.

It’s also pretty safe to assume that Jeremy Lin isn’t getting a Derrick Rose-sized deal or his own signature shoe. But just like Lin’s pro-basketball career, you never know. This might turn out to be surprising.

via Why Would adidas Want to Sign Jeremy Lin? | Complex.

Teen standout Yuta Watanabe faces major challenges in pursuit of NBA dream

When young athletes leave their home nation for a bigger challenge, nobody can really halt their overflowing passion and hope.

But at times, the athletes ought to be advised or given direction, helping them not get completely get lost or blow their careers.

Take 18-year-old Yuta Watanabe, for instance. He recently announced his plans of going to the United States to further his career goals. He revealed that he plans to go to St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Connecticut, and then enroll at an NCAA Division I school. Ultimately, he wants to be an NBA player.

A 201-cm player with a silky shooting touch and moves, Watanabe is considered a phenom, the first of his kind in Japan basketball. At his age, he’s already made the men’s national team.

Watanabe probably has a rough idea that the competition in the U.S. is much tougher than in Japan.

But does he know how much tougher? Plus, is this the right thing for him to do in order to really develop as a player and become the best he can be?

There have been numerous Japanese-born players who have competed at lower-division schools, including NCAA Division II institutions. But guard Keijuro Matsui, who played at Columbia University (2005-09) and is currently with the Toyota Motors Alvark of the NBL (renamed JBL), is one of only two Japanese men who have competed at the top collegiate division in the United States. Alvark guard Taishi Ito, who went to the University of Portland, is the other.

Former Duke University and NBA player Antonio Lang claims that Japanese-born players have to consider about playing in the U.S. carefully, because he doesn’t think Japanese players fully know how tough it is to succeed in America, the birthplace of the sport.

“I really like Watanabe,” said Lang, who’s the head coach of the Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Dolphins of the NBL. “But the language barrier is tough to overcome. The basketball culture in the States is different also. Americans are aggressive and the
game is more physical.”

Watanabe weighs only 73 kg and resembles a thin stick at the moment.

Lang, who won back-to-back NCAA championships with Duke in 1991 and 1992, recognizes that the competition level is much stronger in U.S. basketball, starting at the youth level, not just in the college and pro ranks.

“The high school players now are doing pro workouts and play games year-round,” Lang said. “The youth basketball programs in the States, such as the AAU programs (Amateur Athletic Union, one of the largest non-profit volunteer sport
organizations in the country), are more advanced than any program in Japan.”

Lang, who played in the NBA for eight years, added that even the level of prep school basketball is higher than top Japanese college leagues.

* * *

Meanwhile, although he’s never seen Watanabe play, Toshiba Brave Thunders star Nick Fazekas, also a former NCAA D-I and NBA player, supported the youngster’s decision to make a leap to the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

“I would definitely say it’s doable,” said Fazekas, who suited up for the University of Nevada and the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.

“At (6-foot-7), he definitely has a chance. I do think the whole language barrier could be a big obstacle for him as well as the competition level. But you’ve got to remember there are so many different D-I programs and so many leagues that it’s ultimately a lot of different levels at the D-I level.”

There are more than 300 D-I programs in the NCAA.

Lang said that Watanabe would have to show off his skills as a player right away in prep school in order to attract attention from a D-I program.

“Watanabe has to be an alpha male to dominate at the prep school level,” Lang said. “He will definitely get better, but how will he handle all of the other difficulties — language, culture, home sickness, etc.?”

Fazekas appeared slightly more optimistic about the Kagawa Prefecture native than Lang. The 27-year-old center said that it’s possible to “make the NBA dream come true” from a mid-D-I school.” Then he continued, “But I will say D-I can be tough because there are always new recruits coming in and guys that want your spot. (Watanabe) can do it if he decides to put everything into it.”

Despite all of the details cited above, Lang said that he respects the fact that Watanabe is pursuing a path that not many Japanese players would take.

“I am pulling for him and wish him the best,” Lang said.

But, if not for Watanabe personally, Lang offered a more realistic way for Japanese-born players in general if they want to achieve their ultimate goal of making it in the NBA.

Lang said that he wants Japanese players to emulate what Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Yao Ming (former Houston Rocket) and the Gasol brothers, Pau (Los Angeles Lakers) and Mark (Memphis Grizzlies), did,
which is to dominate in their own countries first.

“I think Japanese players should make Japanese basketball stronger. Make the national team stronger. Dominate Asia, dominate college and dominate the Japanese league,” he said. “And then if he is good enough, go to the NBA.”

Lang believes Japanese basketball has improved with more coaches with NBA and Division I experience in Japan today, and if there are outstanding talents, NBA and college teams will spot them no matter where they play.

“We talk to NBA teams and colleges often about Japanese basketball,” Lang said. “There are no sleepers out there now. If you can play, the NBA and colleges will find you.”

That said, Lang suggested that Japanese players would have a better chance to develop in their native country, which may eventually open the door to the NBA.

“I would rather see Japanese kids go to college in Japan,” he said. “There are quality coaches in Japan. If the choice is D-II basketball in America or Japanese college, Japanese college is my choice.”

via Teen standout Watanabe faces major challenges in pursuit of NBA dream | The Japan Times.

Japeth Aguilar now Ginebra Kings’ main man

JAPETH Aguilar’s new-found confidence and scoring sock have made him Ginebra’s most valuable asset, even at crunch time. PBA images

With a new-found confidence, Japeth Aguilar has become Barangay Ginebra’s main guy.

In 10 games, the high-leaping 6-foot-9 emerged as the Gin Kings’ top performer in the ongoing PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup eliminations by averaging 19.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and a league-best 3.8 blocks.

He recently underscored his worth in a pair of spectacular games against a tough Petron Blaze and Meralco, which dealt the only blemish in Ginebra’s league-leading 9-1 record.

“We’re in this situation now because of Japeth and we’re putting our trust in him until the end,” said Ginebra ace playmaker LA Tenorio, Aguilar’s Gilas Pilipinas teammate.

Aguilar swished a game-clinching three-point shot at the buzzer to cap a Ginebra escape act over the Bolts, 83-82, on Saturday after compiling solid numbers in a colossal victory against the Boosters on Christmas Day.

The former Western Kentucky forward went on to earn the Accel-PBA Player of the Week for the period of Dec. 23 to 29.

Against the Bolts, Aguilar scored seven of his team’s last 10 points capped by that miraculous buzzer-beater that helped the perennial crowd favorites rise from six points down in the final minute.

He finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks as the Gin Kings avenged their 100-87 loss to the Bolts in the first round.

It was a sensational follow-up to an impressive show that saw Aguilar collect 25 points and 11 rebounds in a 97-83 victory over the Boosters.

Now the Gin Kings have moved closer to the twice-to-beat edge heading into the playoffs.

via Aguilar now Ginebra Kings’ main man | Inquirer Sports.

video: Japan’s 6’7″ Yuta Watanabe a standout at National Prep Showcase

Adam Finkelstein and Cox Sports visited the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College last weekend, and many of the top prospects of 2014 in the New England region were in competition.

One player to keep a very close eye on is Japanese-born Yuta Watanabe, who will play prep ball at St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Connecticut.

“Watanabe is intriguing coaches with his combination of size, skill, and athleticism,” says Finkelstein. At his young age, Watanabe already made the men’s national team.

A 6’7″ forward with a textbook elbow jumper, Watanabe will be certainly one of the most recruited players in New England this season. “He’s shown every indication of being the real deal thus far.”

video: Japan’s 6’7″ Yuta Watanabe a standout at National Prep Showcase — Cox Sports Online.

Jeremy Lin’s returned to hometown to play Golden State

When the Rockets initially put a timetable on Jeremy Lin’s return from a bruised and sprained right knee, they thought he would be re-evaluated in two weeks, putting him back at the earliest in time for Friday’s game against his hometown Warriors.

He said at the time that he was not as concerned about playing at home or even in front of his friends and family as he was with returning as soon as possible.

Now that he has returned, he said he still does not consider the location of the game “all that special,” though large numbers of family and friends were in attendance.

“I guess it’s a little less crazy than last year because last year was the first time since the New York stuff,” Lin said. “I’ve played there a couple times already and will play there again later this season, so I guess it’s not that special.”

Asked if he would have asked for a refund for the tickets he purchased had he been forced to miss the game, as Rudy Gay did when he was traded before the Raptors played the Lakers in Los Angeles, Lin said his friends and family would have preferred that he didn’t.

“Probably not because all my friends and family are still Warriors fans,” Lin said. “They would have enjoyed it.”

via Ultimate Rockets » Lin’s return to Golden State not as special this time around.

Jeremy Lin absence needs to open Kevin McHales mind to NBA reality – CultureMap Houston

Kevin McHale’s Houston Rockets are floundering a bit, having lost two straight to two teams that will be nowhere near the Western Conference playoffs by April. James Harden and Dwight Howard are a fantastic duo, but it’s become obvious they’re not Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

They cannot carry a team regularly by themselves.

The Rockets need to dominate more Indiana Pacers like. They must do it as group. They require a third star.

Jeremy Lin’s proven he can be that star. He just needs the minutes, the opportunity and the respect of a coach who believes in him. There’s the hope in this mini skid. It’s no coincidence that with Lin sidelined with a knee sprain, the Rockets offense has grown feeble against weaker teams. Now McHale just needs to recognize this and embrace Lin’s difference-making ability like never before when the point guard returns.

As soon as Lin returns, McHale needs to reinstate him as the starter.

McHale needs Lin playing like a star if the Rockets are going to go deep in the playoffs. This is a mutually beneficial relationship if only McHale can see it. Patrick Beverley playing 42 minutes — and contributing two assists — turns Houston’s offense to mush. Try 88 points against a limited Phoenix Suns team mush.

“We had no flow tonight,” McHale said after the game in a press conference broadcast by CSN Houston. “I just thought the 13 assists, 23 turnovers — some really errant passing.”

This is what happens when there’s no true point guard in uniform.

Those flying tip ins from a guard — like Beverley pulled off in San Antonio — are fantastic. But they don’t equal long-term success.

No NBA team’s ever won big because its point guard was a great rebounder. The point needs to be a good distributor, an effective shooter and a fearless driver. In other words, the Rockets point guard must be more like Jeremy Lin.

As soon as Lin returns, McHale needs to reinstate him as the starter. No matter what one thinks the motivation behind it is, the forced Beverley Experiment clearly hasn’t worked. The Rockets aren’t better on defense. The Suns starting backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe combined for 39 points on 13 of 25 shooting Wednesday night. Tony Parker torched the Rockets for 27 points in his first game back from injury — when he clearly wasn’t even 100 percent. Heck, Utah Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke put up 21 points against Houston.

Jeremy Lin wasn’t any less effective on defense than this.

Shutdown city has never materialized. And the Rockets are worse on offense.

Lin Loss

The Rockets are 2-2 without Jeremy Lin and even the win in San Antonio — their most impressive win of the season so far — was somewhat fluky with Harden absolutely taking over and the Spurs blowing a late lead and inexplicably completely butchering the Hack-A-Howard strategy.

Chandler Parsons has also missed the two losses with back spasms, but he doesn’t have the ability to change everything. Not in the way that a real point guard can.

If Rockets general manager Daryl Morey can bring Kyrie Irving walking through the Toyota Center doors, downgrading and attempting to trade Jeremy Lin becomes justified. But until that ever happens, this tendency to dismiss and diminish Lin is madness. You don’t cripple a difference-making point guard because you think Patrick Beverley is “scrappy.”

This is a league where talent wins. And Jeremy Lin is a talent.

It’s almost fitting that the Rockets are giving away a Lin action figure to fans at Sunday night’s home game against the Orlando Magic.

You don’t cripple a difference-making point guard because you think Patrick Beverley is “scrappy.”

Now that Lin is out of action, the team’s brain trust finally may be figuring out how valuable he can be.

Tony Parker wasn’t Tony Parker his first few seasons as a starter either. He needed to be allowed to grow to reach his true potential. Fortunately for Parker, he happens to play for Gregg Popovich — one of the most opened minded coaches in pro sports. It’s probably no coincidence that Popovich is a big Jeremy Lin believer as well.

The Lin doubters can mock the point guard all they want. The truth is that no one will know just how good Jeremy Lin can be — or cannot be — until he plays for a coach who doesn’t toy with his confidence. And minutes.

There’s no reason that coach cannot be found in Houston. This Jeremy Lin absence should be the last piece of evidence Kevin McHale needs. If things don’t change now, the Rockets are dooming themselves to being a second round playoff team. At best.

Where’s the sense or pride in that?

 

via Jeremy Lin absence needs to open Kevin McHales mind to NBA reality – CultureMap Houston.

Guangdong beat Fujian 113-92 CCTV News – CNTV English

 

Video Highlights

Guangdong hosted Fujian in the 9th round. The South Tigers, still unbeaten this season, looking to extend that record.

The match was billed as Yi Jianlian versus Wang Zhelin, the battle between the two generations of centers.

But Yi Jianlian totally outplayed Wang in the game, helping his team with a 7-0 run early in the game.

And Yi would then continue with this slam dunk. He finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the game, while Wang Zhelin managed just 15 points and 10 rebounds.

But Delonte West would lead Fujian\’s comeback, as they ended the first quarter with a three point advantage.

Midway through the third, and it\’s that man again, Yi Jianlian, to put Guangdong up by five.

And Joshua Powell would follow with another slam, as Guangdong extended the lead to 7.

And Guangdong would go on to win the match 113-92, meaning they\’re still unbeaten this season, with six players scoring double digits in the match.

via Guangdong beat Fujian 113-92 CCTV News – CNTV English.

Jeremy Lin’s Injury Hurts Rockets’ Ability to Trade Him

Jeremy Lin has been one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises this year. After an up-and-down first season with the Houston Rockets, the 25-year-old was moved to the bench. Predictably, not having to deal with James Harden hogging the ball instantly alleviated him of a whole lot of headaches.

As he proved during his time with the New York Knicks, Lin is fully capable of leading an offense; the reason why he struggled last year is because he was constantly trying to conform to an offense centering around Harden.

Thus far this season, through 16 games, Lin was averaging 16 points on 50 percent shooting. Aside from being ultra-productive for Houston, he was also really durable. While everyone around him was collapsing with back injuries, abdominal strains and so on and so forth, he was standing strong.

Until Wednesday, that is.

During this past week’s game between the Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, Lin collided with Paul Millsap and sustained a grade-1 knee sprain. He will be out at least two weeks.

Not only is this bad news for Houston because they just lost one of their best players, it’s also bad news for Daryl Morey, as he’s trying to find a suitable package for Omer Asik. It’s no secret that the Rockets are trying to move Asik, and it’s also no secret that his trade value has plummeted this year. If Morey wants to get anything even close to good value for his disgruntled big man, he’ll have to throw in a sweetener. Lin’s value has never been higher.

Or at least it wasn’t prior to this injury.

Lin, 25, is still young enough to not be seriously impacted by injuries. He should bounce back fairly quickly. In theory. If he doesn’t, though, don’t be surprised to see Asik play out the rest of this season with the Rockets and Rajon Rondo end the year in a Boston Celtics uniform.

via Jeremy Lin’s Injury Hurts Rockets’ Ability to Trade Him.

Jeremy Lin of Houston Rockets to miss 2 week with knee sprain – ESPN

Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin will miss two weeks with a right knee sprain, the team announced Friday on its Twitter feed.

Lin, who was injured in the first quarter of Wednesday\’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after colliding with Paul Millsap, will be reevaluated after the two-week period.

Lin had started the last three games in place of James Harden, who has missed the last three games with a sore foot.

In 16 games this season, Lin is averaging 15.3 points and 4.5 assists.

via Jeremy Lin of Houston Rockets to miss 2 week with knee sprain – ESPN.

Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin Should Be the Example For James Harden

Jeremy Lin8 Houston Rockets   Jeremy Lin Should Be the Example For James Harden

If the Houston Rockets were a team that’s run and coached the right way, Jeremy Lin wouldn’t have to wonder about his role and position on the floor. James Harden would be a star shooting guard that isn’t too busy trying to handle the ball too much, and Kevin McHale wouldn’t be using Patrick Beverley in the starting lineup or for so many minutes in general. But the last season and a bit are showing us that things are very different in South East Texas.

James Harden might be missing yet another game due to his sore left foot. Is that good for the Rockets? It shouldn’t be. Teams missing their top scorer shouldn’t be playing better without him. But there’s a problem with Harden this season, growing in magnitude compared to last year, when the game plan to simply give him the ball and wait for something to happen hurt the Rockets late in the season, maybe costing them a spot or two in the Western Conference playoffs.

Jeremy Lin should be benefiting from Harden not being on the floor, but Patrick Beverley gets more of the ball than Lin for some reason. Why? Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey see basketball in a certain way, and through that view Lin is turned into something of a spot up shooter. Even if he is the best passer on the team; even if he’s the guy who should be handling the ball on fast breaks instead of Harden or Beverley who love to slow things down.

James Harden4 e1385565335283 Houston Rockets   Jeremy Lin Should Be the Example For James Harden

Last season, there were two games that made the Rockets fall in love with this fake image of Harden being good for the Rockets no matter what he does – the 121-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on December 22, and three days later a 120-97 win over the Chicago Bulls. Harden was at his most aggressive and efficient in those two games, combining to shoot 61.5% from the field, thinking quickly against two of the best defenses in the NBA.

Since that day, his belief that holding onto the ball for long periods of time is what’s good for him and the Rockets has done an equal amount of harm and good. Jeremy Lin was excellent in those two games, dishing out 11 assists in both of them. The Rockets played fast, with energy on defense and from their leader, allowing Lin to play in a way that suits him and the team better than anything. Having Dwight Howard on the roster shouldn’t change that.

It’s not too late for the Rockets to rise above the mediocrity of early this season, symbolized by Harden’s insistence to play like he’s alone on the floor and provide zero leadership and example on defense, which a lot of times isn’t about athleticism and schemes, but simply about  motivation and effort. Jeremy Lin isn’t some messiah or savior. He’s just a very good player who is criminally misused by a ordinary head coach who knows only how to put the ball in his superstar’s hands and hope for the best. That is recipe for playoffs and an early exit, while the Rockets have the potential for so much more.

via Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin Should Be the Example For James Harden | Sportige.

Jeremy Lin News Update: Linsanity Building ‘All-Star’ Resume This Year

Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin has been slowly making his case to becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career with the kind of production he has been putting in as of late.

Lin is having a superb season so far, despite being demoted from starting point guard to the Rockets sixth-man. Coming off the bench for the first time post-Linsanity era, Lin put up better numbers by averaging 16 points and 5 assists per game.

Setting aside his one-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Lin is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field over the last five games. Lin is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field over the last five games. His long distance shooting accuracy has been sharper than ever, with a .400 three-point percentage.
Becoming an All-Star

Though bench players are not often given a slot in NBA’s midseason classic, Lin could be one of those special sixth men eligible to become an All-Star.

Few years ago, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili came off the bench and put up huge numbers to get his second All-Star nod of his career. Apparently, Ginobili’s numbers that year are very much comparable to Lin’s stats early this season.
Ginobili, who is arguably the most dominant sixth man in the last decade, kept his team afloat to offset the injuries of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker that year.

On the other hand, Lin proved that he can fill in for shooting guard James Harden capably after exploding for at least 30 points in two consecutive games, one of which was a 34-point and 12-assist performance in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Though there won’t be a second version of Linsanity in Houston anytime soon, Lin showed that he can produce big numbers when given enough playing time, and more control of the ball.
The arrival of Harden may have stalled the development of Lin with the bearded All-Star taking a lot of possessions per game. However, Lin’s willingness to play off Harden is starting to pay off – a good indication for the team.

Most analysts annoint an All-Star by breaking down his stats and determining his importance to his squad. In Lin’s case, his numbers and the value he has to the Rockets are noteworthy…and perhaps All-Star worthy.

via Jeremy Lin News Update: Linsanity Building ‘All-Star’ Resume This Year : Sports : Latino Post.

The rerise of Jeremy Lin – Linsanity 2.0?

On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin stood in the visitor’s locker room of a familiar building surrounded by a throng of New York City reporters whom he must have vaguely recognized. The reporters asked Lin how it felt being back in the city and all the usual revenge-narrative questions, and Lin did what Lin always does — he was polite and noncommittal and thanked everyone and talked about how he was happy that the Rockets had beaten the Knicks. Patrick Beverley, who now starts ahead of Lin as Houston’s point guard, sat across the way, a towel draped over his lap. He seemed amused by the whole spectacle, although not in any malicious or snarky way. “I’m just glad I don’t have a locker anywhere near his,” he said. When Chandler Parsons came out of the shower, he corralled a Rockets team employee. “You gotta help me out,” Parsons said. The team employee gathered up all the bass in his voice and began edging his way through the mass of bodies and recorders and cameras to Parsons’s locker, adjacent to Lin’s.

The scene, while lively, almost felt like a chore for the gathered press. Jeremy Lin’s return to Madison Square Garden is still a story, albeit one with diminishing returns. On Thursday night, even the fans couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm for Lin’s return. There were a few boos when he went to the foul line or checked in at the scorer’s table and certainly more Asian dudes than one would usually find at Madison Square Garden in mid-November.

Thankfully, the second return of Jeremy had come with a bonus story line — for the first time since Linsanity erupted here in February 2012, Jeremy Lin was playing well. On November 11, he scored 31 off the bench in a double-overtime win against the Raptors. Two nights later, he hit nine 3s against the Sixers and put up 34. Many, myself included, had come down to Madison Square Garden to see if they might catch the start of something big-ish. If Lin dropped 40 or 50, a fellow reporter mused, Linsanity II might be upon us.

Lin scored only 21 points, but he threw down a dunk and hit a few big shots in the second half. The Rockets beat a struggling Knicks team that has been trying to whip itself back into last year’s form. It all felt like a letdown, but only because of the preposterous expectations set by the original Jeremy Lin story.

Last year was bad, by all standards. The aggression Lin had shown with the Knicks was mostly gone. His first step looked slow and he couldn’t seem to figure out how to finish at the rim. Compounding those issues, Lin shot under 40 percent on spot-up opportunities and couldn’t figure out how to score in Houston’s transition offense. By the end of the year, Beverley had clearly become the better option and Lin was relegated to the bench. The Knicks, meanwhile, won 54 games with Raymond Felton at point guard, leading many to conclude that the team had been smart to let Lin and his poison-pill contract walk.

This year, Lin has improved across the board. And while he’ll never again be the sensation who led the Knicks to all those thrilling wins in February of 2012, he has become more or less the guy we thought he’d be when he left the Knicks — an above-average scoring point guard who can go for 30 on any given night. The offseason work he put in on his shot with the Rockets staff has paid off; Lin is shooting 51.2 percent on spot-up jumpers and 44 percent from beyond the arc. For players who have run more than 100 plays in the half court this season, Lin’s 1.06 points per possession ranks 10th in the league. Aside from his defense, which can be generally described as “not great,” Lin, at least through the first 11 games of this season, has turned himself into the player the Rockets need — an efficient secondary scorer who can shoot from distance when James Harden is on the court and who can take over the load when Harden rests.

More importantly, the enthusiasm seems to be back — despite his modesty in interviews and his Christian, clean-cut image, the best Jeremy Lin is actually an irrational-confidence guy. You want him to believe that he deserves to have the ball in his hands and that he can score on anyone. If he can merge the gunner Jeremy Lin with this new version that seems content to play off of Harden, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t earn out the remainder of his average salary, regardless of how heavy the hit might be in the last year of his poison-pill contract. Let’s not forget that Tyreke Evans, who, in actuality, is probably a somewhat comparable but much less efficient player, earns $11 million per year. The bust fears have been mostly put to rest. And although Lin will probably never make an All-Star Game without fan-vote rigging, there’s no reason to think he won’t enjoy a productive, lengthy career in the NBA.

If Lin has stabilized into something like the 15th to 20th best point guard in the league, what has happened to his status as the Great Yellow Hope? At the height of Linsanity, it would not have been too much of a stretch to say that Jeremy Lin was on the short list of most important Asian Americans in our country’s history, railroads be damned. Today, even the phrase “the importance of Jeremy Lin” feels dated and passé, like discussing Bret Easton Ellis at a literary function. He has not quite yet become “just another basketball player,” but he has certainly faded into something resembling that.

I know here’s where I’m supposed to say “hallelujah” and something like, “we have only made real progress when the Jeremy Lin story has nothing to do with the anomaly of his race.” Or whatever. If you resist the endless silly moralizing in the national conversation about sports and the hero-making and all that stupid, bankrupt talk about role models, you should probably also keep the straight line going and say that an Asian American basketball player signifies nothing more than that one very athletically gifted Asian American kid made it to the NBA. But that sort of thinking can only come out of a place of privilege. If you don’t need to scrape out role models wherever you can, if you can look at the spectrum of public figures and see plenty of people who could have been you, then you can afford to be objective and practical about the lot of them. You can quietly laud your heroes.

It’s discomforting to say, but the Asian American community still needs Jeremy Lin as a rallying point. The “Chink in the Armor” moment marked the first time in my life that we, as a unified people, voiced our outrage. Since then, Asian American outrage has become its own meme. Some video will come out from some awful band or some awful UCLA student or some awful record company invested in turning young kids into viral singing stars and the only reason this viral trash makes the rounds is because that awful entity said or sang something offensive about Asian people.

This past August, I attended a panel that featured Jeff Yang, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. “Asian Girlz,” a wildly offensive, wildly bad song by a wildly dumb “band” called Day Above Ground, came up in the conversation. Yang acknowledged the offensiveness of the song, but wondered aloud if we had become too easy to troll. After all, “Asian Girlz” had almost no YouTube views and the song’s notoriety came almost entirely from people who shame-linked it through social media. Why, Yang asked, were we paying so much attention to these sorts of easily shareable, mostly meaningless offenses?

I tend to agree with Yang. If the lasting imprint of Linsanity is that Asian Americans can now express their outrage on the Internet, as they did with Ark Music Factory’s video for “Chinese Food,” or for “Asians in the Library: UCLA Rant,” or for the racist shit that racists say on Twitter, that means the legacy of that great month comes more from “Chink in the Armor” than from Jeremy Lin. I wonder why so much of the upswing in media attention on Asian American issues has targeted the worst parts of the Internet and not any of the more worthy issues within the community. Are we just lazy? Have we run out of things to complain about? Or is this simply the product of a larger trend in media, in which the only things we cover are exactly those things we can access through one glowing screen or another?

Jeremy Lin was and will continue to be a litmus test on how the greater country, in particular the media, talks about Asian Americans. Last week, a SportsCenter anchor named Jorge Andres said Lin was “cooking with hot peanut oil” during a highlight segment. Andres apologized later in the telecast and later clarified on Twitter that he was making a Duck Dynasty reference and not equating Jeremy Lin’s performance to the most commonly used oil in Chinese cuisine. There’s an argument to be made here that Andres’s quick apology is a sign of progress, but where does that progress lead? Andres should have been more careful with his words, sure, and this company’s history of “Chink in the Armor” should always be factored in, but I hope we have not reached a point where every stretch of great Lin basketball gets accompanied with dread over what people might stupidly and insensitively say.

If that sounds like willful ignorance, then fine. Sometimes it’s better to just roll your eyes and not pay undue regard to comments that are beneath all of us. It’s true that racism against Asians does not “count” as much as other racisms in this country. If a comedian or a talk-show host or even a tight end decides to lighten up the mood with a little off-color humor or if a Hollywood director needs a faceless, easily mocked villain, Asians often fill the role because the risk isn’t the same. Violence against Asian Americans is hardly ever covered by the news media as anything exceptional or troubling. This is the awful and maddening truth that Linsanity confirmed. But flaring up false equivalences like “if you substitute fried chicken for peanut oil, that guy gets fired” or digging for offensive content and whipping up your indignation only trivializes the truly offensive and disturbing.

“Chink in the Armor” felt like someone big and influential had taken a shit on the floor of our party. There’s no reason to let that hurt be the only thing we take away from Linsanity, especially when, in two or three or five years, he truly does become just another dude in the NBA.

 

via The rerise of Jeremy Lin – Grantland.

Jeremy Lin Gets Apology From Jorge Andres, ESPN Sportscenter Anchor Over ‘Cooking In Hot Peanut Oil’ Description

ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jorge Andres has issued an apology to NBA player Jeremy Lin after describing his 21 point, five rebound, three assist performance against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden Thursday night as \”cooking with some hot peanut oil.\”

Minutes later, Andres told viewers \”earlier in the show I made a comment about a Jeremy Lin basket that I should not have made. This was clearly a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize. I am very, very sorry for offending anyone, that was never my intention.\”

The incident isn\’t the first time ESPN has found itself at the center of a storm involving Lin and the issue of race.

In 2012, the station suspended Max Bretos for remarks he made on air about Lin and fired an editor deemed responsible for penning the headline \”chink in the armor\” in a headline referring to nine turnovers the Asian born, Harvard-educated guard committed in a single game.

\”This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,\” editor Anthony Federico later told reporters. \”I\’m so sorry that I offended people. I\’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.\”

Following that incident, Lin told reporters \”they\’ve apologized, and so from my end, I don\’t care anymore. You have to learn to forgive, and I don\’t even think that was intentional.\”

via Jeremy Lin Gets Apology From Jorge Andres, ESPN Sportscenter Anchor Over ‘Cooking In Hot Peanut Oil’ Description [VIDEO] : NBA : Sports World News.

Jeremy Lin scores 34 points now returns to Garden where he sparked ‘Linsanity’ craze across NBA

PHILADELPHIA – Linsanity lives.

On his way up to the Garden for Thursday’s encounter with his old team, Jeremy Lin turned back the clock to a time when he was the biggest NBA story going. But even with his 34 points, 12 assists and nine three-point shots, a Wells Fargo Center record, Lin left Philly in a sour mood when the Rockets lost in overtime, 123-117, on Wednesday night.

Lin’s defensive woes, eight turnovers, and trouble making shots and winning plays in the fourth quarter and overtime weighed heavily on the Rocket backup, who was thrust into a starting role when James Harden sat out the game with a minor foot injury.

Lin sure looked gassed as he played 48:37, the most of any player from either team, but he wasn’t making any excuses in the visiting locker room afterward.

“I wasn’t tired, I was fine,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to be more effective out there on the floor, especially with the game on the line. Normally I relish the fourth quarter, I love the fourth quarter. I didn’t find a way tonight.”

Jeremy Lin lives two months of 'Linsanity' with the Knicks in early 2012.

BILL KOSTROUN/AP

Jeremy Lin lives two months of ‘Linsanity’ with the Knicks in early 2012.

Lin had 28 points after three quarters, as the Sixers had no one who could stay in front of him. But over the final 17 minutes, he had more turnovers (three) than assists (two) and made only two of seven shots, as the Rockets were outscored. 43-27, in the fourth quarter and overtime.

No wonder he didn’t want to talk about his torrid early shooting from beyond the arc, as he made seven of his first nine three-point tries. He’s been the team’s top perimeter shooter in the first two weeks after spending his off-season working on his shot.

“Obviously, I’ve been trying to get better at it and I want to get better at it,’’ he said. “To be honest, it really dampens the mood when you don’t win the game.”

It’s been that kind of season for the Rockets. As they’ve tried to incorporate Dwight Howard into their team, they’ve become incapable of holding onto late leads. The fourth quarter has been their nightmare quarter, with defensive breakdowns and sloppy offense a running theme.

RELATED: JEREMY WAS OBSESSED WITH LIVING UP TO ‘LINSANITY’ REP

“I’ve said it since the opening night: We haven’t played well yet this year,’’ Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We’ve really struggled, a lot, and in different areas. Areas that surprise me. Guys are just driving by us, making plays. We’re not getting stops when we need ‘em.”

Lin is among the Rockets who have been beaten in critical situations. When the Sixers sent the game into overtime on James Anderson’s three-pointer with 6.9 seconds left, tying the game at 106-106, Lin was the one who guarding Anderson.

Lin scores 34 points and hands out 12 assists, but turns it over eight times in an overtime loss to the Sixers Wednesday.

JESSE D. GARRABRANT/GETTY

Lin scores 34 points and hands out 12 assists, but turns it over eight times in an overtime loss to the Sixers Wednesday.

“This is my worst defensive game of the season,’’ he said. “So I want to make sure tomorrow is my best defensive game of the season.”

Even off this loss, Lin can still expect a pretty good reception in the Garden. He is expected to return to his sixth-man role, with Harden likely to return to action for the national TV game.

As much as his fans will point to this game to say he can be an effective starter for a playoff contender, as he was for that magical month in 2011-12 when Linsanity reigned at the Garden, the backup role is better for Lin and the Rockets.

RELATED: LIN SAYS HIS ETHNICITY WAS A HOOPS ‘BARRIER’

With Harden off the floor, he can control the ball.

“I think he’s playing better right now than he did at any point for us last season,” McHale said earlier in the day. “He’s confident. His leg is healthy. He’s really been great for us all year long. He put in a big summer of work. His shot is better. We just need for him to do what he does: Attack, make plays and defensively be solid.”

Lin had a big following among the scant crowd announced at 11,671, but he doesn’t really expect New York to go bonkers for his return. He’s already been back to the Garden once since the Knicks didn’t match the Rockets’ $25-million offer sheet. And it’s not as if he’s his team’s biggest star.

“People have been asking, ‘You think it will be a big deal?’” he said. “I don’t really think so. I think people are going to be more excited, or there’s going to be a lot of attention around Dwight and James. They are the face of the franchise. I’m hoping I will be a subplot.”

In New York, he can never be a subplot. He’ll always be Linsanity.


via Jeremy Lin returns to Garden where he sparked ‘Linsanity’ craze across NBA – NY Daily News.

video: Jeremy Lin scores 31 points in Double OT win

Jeremy Lin and Cafe Lu girl, Amy Fay

Jeremy Lin and Cafe Lu girl, Amy Fay


Cafelu.net

The Houston Rockets decided right before they started play in the 2013-14 NBA regular season that they were going to roll with Patrick Beverley as their starting point guard in lieu of starting Jeremy Lin, who started all 82 regular season games for the Rockets last season on their way to the postseason.

However, an injury in the first game of the season put Beverley on the sideline for a few games, putting Lin in the starting lineup. Lin played solid in the games that he started, averaging 15.5 points and 4.8 assists per game on efficient scoring. However, he showed on Monday night why he’s so valuable to the Rockets as a bench player.

Lin played 46 minutes of Houston’s double-overtime battle with the Toronto Raptors on Monday night and finished with a game-high 31 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, 3-6 shooting from three and 8-9 shooting from the foul line. Lin also put up five rebounds, two steals and a block in the contest.

via Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Continues to Show Value as Bench Player.

Yi Jianlian Guangdong trounces Sichuan in CBA opener

Yi Jianlian (right) battles for a rebound during Guangdong Southern Tigers\’ game against Sichuan Blue Whales on Friday in Shenzhen. Photo: CFP

The 2013-14 season opener of Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) saw the defending champion Guangdong Southern Tigers thrash the Sichuan Blue Whales on Friday 120-67 in Shenzhen, South China\’s Guangdong Province.

The 53-point victory margin surpassed the previous record at the CBA season openers which was set by Bayi in 1997 when they routed the Zhejiang team 103-63.

Sichuan was promoted to the CBA in September after taking the top spot in the second-tier basketball league, the National Basketball League, 15 years after their last appearance in the CBA.

Zhou Shiqiang, president of Sichuan team, even offered a bonus of 500,000 yuan ($82,100) for the underdogs before the match if they could hold the margin to within 15 points, according to Chengdu-based Tianfu Morning Post on Friday.

Guangdong\’s forward Zhou Peng produced the game high of 26 points. Star center Yi Jianlian added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts, while former Los Angeles Lakers player Josh Powell contributed 12 points and seven rebounds to Guangdong\’s win.

Sichuan\’s marquee player Hamed Haddadi\’s absence was considered the key to Sichuan team\’s big loss, as Guangdong\’s executive coach Jonas Kazlauskas told the post-match conference that if Haddadi had played, everything would have been different.

The 2.18-meter Iranian center injured his ankle during Sichuan\’s preseason match against the Liaoning Flying Leopards on October 27.

\”I think my side did well today, especially in defending when we had a big lead. My players didn\’t get distracted, except during the first quarter,\” said the Lithuanian coach.

Sichuan held Guangdong close in the first quarter. While Wang Shipeng led Guangdong to a 13-5 run at the beginning, Sichuan\’s 8-0 run overturned the lead to 13-14 after Judas Prada called a timeout. But the newcomers failed to hold the lead and didn\’t take the lead again during the match.

The first quarter ended at 23-17. Yi only scored six points but had three faults.

Sichuan was overwhelmed by Guangdong\’s counter­attack which resulted in their loss to the eight-time CBA champions.­

Du Feng, head coach of Guangdong, was impressed by 22-year-old shooting guard Khalif Wyatt, who scored 16 points and had three assists, rather than Powell.

\”He had a good understanding of the game, it is not easy for such a young player.\”

\”Powell\’s performance didn\’t reach my satisfaction at the beginning, but he started to find his range in the second half,\” Du said.

\”This is the first game, finding the problems early is good for us.\”

Yi also offered advice for the Sichuan team after the match, saying, \”It\’s a big challenge for Sichuan being new in the CBA. They need to progress both tactically and physically. They need time to learn and to experience.\”

\”It\’s been 10 years since I first met with him (Haddadi­). I hope he can recover soon and help Sichuan,\” Yi said.

via Guangdong trounce Sichuan – SPORTS – Globaltimes.cn.

Bloodied Jeremy Lin saves Rockets from coaching blunder, shows class

In the end it doesn’t matter because Jeremy Lin rises above another unnecessary obstacle thrown in his path. He takes the unwarranted hit from Kevin McHale — a benching that makes little real basketball sense — and then he takes a shot to the chin that leaves him needing stitches.

Bloodied but unbowed.

That’s pretty much the story of Jeremy Lin’s NBA career. Is it any surprise it’s the story of opening night? Lin just keeps coming, no matter who tries to knock him down. The self-promoted “new age” Houston Rockets are lucky to have him — a point driven home in an uneven 96-83 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats in Game No. 1 of Dwight Howard’s H-Town reign.

On a night when Howard and Omer Asik gobble up every rebound in sight, Jeremy Lin is the best perimeter player on the floor.

In truth, McHale’s ill-advised decision to make the offensively-limited Patrick Beverley the starting point implodes early.

He doesn’t pour in a bunch of points after the game’s essentially over to pad his stats. He doesn’t fire up a no-need 3-pointer in the closing seconds that has the Bobcats exchanging a few curious looks. He doesn’t get a courtside high five from former Rocket Tracy McGrady, who’s sitting in the front row next to team owner Leslie Alexander.

No, Jeremy Lin is not James Harden. The Rockets’ rigidly reinforced pecking order will never let him forget that.

What Lin does do is score 16 points on only seven shots, fearlessly drive into the heart of the Bobcats’ toughened up defense again and again like an NBA version of Walter Payton hurtling himself into a wall of bodies and set up Howard for one monster slam. It’s a stunningly efficient line if you think about it (of course, NBA stat heads don’t like to think about — or acknowledge — Jeremy Lin’s efficient stat lines).

In truth, McHale’s ill-advised decision to make the offensively-limited Patrick Beverley the starting point guard implodes even before Beverley has to leave the game with a minor rib injury. With Beverley at the point, the Rockets struggle to score nine points in the first five minutes and 59 seconds, shoot 3 for 13 from the field.

Afterwards, the players talk about how “sticky” the ball seems — using McHale’s favorite expression for a bogged down offensive flow. McHale himself cracks that “Watching us play offense was like a trip to the dentist.”

Of course, none of this could be due to the fact that McHale chooses to open the game with his best ball mover on the bench. No one brings that up. Let’s not be absurd! Jeremy Lin couldn’t have been contributing to that nice offensive flow last season.

Never mind that the offense almost immediately starts looking a little more smooth once Lin and Francisco Garcia get into the game. That must be pure coincidence.

Yes, it’s going to be awful amusing seeing just how gymnastic the positions McHale and his Lin-discounting Houston media warriors must twist themselves into in order to defend turning the team’s best point guard into a reserve get this season.

Dwight Howard Needs Help

One game in and we have Exhibit A on why Jeremy Lin needs to starting. With Beverley sidelined, McHale has no choice but to play Lin 30 minutes. And Lin promptly proves he’s the type of smooth offensive player and pure shooter that Beverley never will be.

He doesn’t fire up a no-need 3-pointer in the closing seconds that has Bobcats exchanging curious looks. He doesn’t get a courtside high five from Tracy McGrady.

Earlier in the day at the shootaround, Lin notes how he cannot control whether he starts or not. He says he’ll only worry about what he can control. Which is what most seasoned pro athletes say when they’re not pleased with a coaching decision. At least, the classy, media aware ones.

No, Jeremy Lin is not going to throw a fit and note how he’s earned a starting job. But the fact that this is being twisted into Lin somehow being onboard with McHale’s plan is comical. He’s not embracing it. He’s dealing with it. Just like he dealt with going undrafted. Just like he dealt with getting cut on Christmas eve. And yes, he’ll do it with class.

Jeremy Lin doesn’t whine. He works. So he takes another snub and turns it into a deadeye opening night. One in which he nearly literally takes advantage of every single opportunity he gets.

Bloodied but unbowed.

It’s the Jeremy Lin way. While Howard and Asik’s work on the glass (outrebounding the whole Charlotte team as a duo in the first half, finishing with 40 combined boards) is the new revelation, this healthier, more confident Lin will mean just as much in the long trophy chase. If only the Rockets let it.

“I was mad about that,” Howard says when asked about matching his career high for rebounds (26) in his on-court postgame CSN interview. “I wanted to get all the rebounds, protect the paint as much as I can and let these young guys run.”

A 25-year-old Jeremy Lin is a big key to getting that running game going. Early. Before the offense bogs down, the ball gets sticky and the Rockets find themselves mud wrestling with inferior teams like the Bobcats.

Let’s not make too much sense though. Let’s not get crazy. You can’t stop throwing ridiculous obstacles in Jeremy Lin’s way. On this night, he makes the Rocket doctors wait to stitch him up till after he’s done playing, rushing back into the game with a stopgap blood squelcher. Jeremy Lin knows he must grab every possible moment.

Bloodied but unbowed. It’s the real story of opening night — and it’s not stopping anytime soon.

via Bloodied Jeremy Lin saves Rockets from coaching blunder, shows class – CultureMap Houston.

Case Keenum elevated as Jeremy Lin wrongly deflated: McHale fails

Gary Kubiak walks into the interview room and matter-of-factly tells the world he’s making the obvious, right call. The fact that so many people seem surprised by it in this town shows how warped Houston sports are threatening to become.

Yes, Case Keenum remains the Houston Texans starting quarterback for the Sunday Night Football NBC showcase against the Indianapolis Colts. No, it doesn’t matter that incumbent Matt Schaub is healthy. Next question?

There is no needless drama with Kubiak, no putting his personal feelings above the team. He simply makes the correct call and ensures the Texans have the best absolute chance to win. Somehow, this 52-year-old football lifer makes it all seem almost tidy — though this situation couldn’t be any more messy.

“I know it’s very difficult on him,” Kubiak says of Schaub, allowing a brief window into the pain that can come with doing the right thing. “It’s very difficult on me too, to be honest with you.”

No one should forget the Texans wouldn’t have this Keenum hope if it wasn’t for Kubiak.

Kubiak quickly catches himself when hit with a follow-up question wondering if this quarterback decision is the single toughest decision he’s ever faced as a coach, though. The football nerd shoots that one down, noting he’s made a lot of difficult decisions.

It’s all a lesson in how to deliver a decisive, difficult call — and it provides another example of how underrated Gary Kubiak still is as a head coach. Contrast how Kubiak handles Keenum to how Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale is treating Jeremy Lin. Like Keenum, Jeremy Lin clearly deserves to start for his team. Unlike Schaub, Lin’s done nothing to lose a role he played well last season.

Instead, he’s actually raised his game — shooting better, passing surer and playing even more confident this preseason. Even NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon quickly grasped how well Lin and big money savior Dwight Howard can work together.

So what does McHale do? He creates a point guard controversy out of thin air and deems Patrick Beverley to be Lin’s equal if not better. Now, McHale’s orchestrated it so he can start Beverley in the Rockets’ season opener Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats and reduce Jeremy Lin to a supporting, secondary player.

It almost looks like McHale is determined to prove that he and general manager Daryl Morey weren’t all wrong when they cut Jeremy Lin on that infamous Christmas eve after all. Whatever his motivation, McHale clearly cannot see any star potential in Jeremy Lin — evidence be damned.

Gary Kubiak elevates Case Keenum, always having seen the possibilities. Kevin McHale downgrades Jeremy Lin, creating his own doubt.

Kevin McHale’s Fail

The difference in coaching couldn’t be more striking. Which makes the murmurs that Kubiak’s job deserves to be in jeopardy due to the Texans’ 2-5 start all the more nonsensical. (To be fair, it’s at least a 50-50 bet that the Chronicle’s ever-waffling columnistJerome Solomon will turn around and demand Kubiak be signed to a multi-year extension by Thanksgiving). But that doesn’t change the overall false thinking behind the immediate reaction on Kubiak’s unworthiness as a coach.

Sure, I’d argue that Kubiak made the switch from Schaub to Keenum two games too late. As I wrote at the time, Schaub needed to be benched after throwing away the Seahawks game. The Texans likely would be in at least a slightly better position coming out of the bye if the trigger had been pulled earlier (with Keenum, the Texans likely beat the Rams). But the bottom line is Gary Kubiak still eventually made the right, difficult call.

You don’t have to play poorly to be downgraded. Not if you’re not one of McHale’s Chosen Ones.

No one should forget that the Texans wouldn’t have this Case Keenum hope if it wasn’t for Gary Kubiak either.

Kubiak is the one who thought enough of Keenum to shepherd a dismissed, undrafted free agent through a practice squad season. Kubiak is the one who trusted his eyes — rather than falling back on the draft guru dismissals of the former University of Houston NCAA record breaker — and gave Keenum a real training camp shot this summer. And Kubiak is the one who switched up his offense and came up with the Pistol formation twists that gave Keenum a fighting shot to be successful in Kansas City.

It’s not Kubiak’s fault that 99 percent of the Houston media refused to believe him when he insisted that Keenum had grown light years and shown legit NFL talent. As much as anyone, Gary Kubiak’s been the guy who’s been telling people about Case Keenum all along.

“I went through the exact same thing,” Texans all-pro running back (and fellow former undrafted free agent) Arian Foster says. “Me and (Case) had a talk before any of this had happened about dreams, goals, aspirations — all of that stuff.”

Think it’s coincidence that a Gary Kubiak-coached team is the one that will have undrafted free agents starting at quarterback and running back on the big Sunday Night Football stage?

Kubiak coaches belief into players. If you can play, he’ll give you a shot. McHale seems determined to take belief away from Jeremy Lin. You don’t have to play poorly to be downgraded. Not if you’re not one of McHale’s Chosen Ones. Funny, how Omri Casspi having arguably a better preseason than Beverley has never put Chandler Parsons’ starting job in jeopardy.

Sure, the Rockets are the hot team of the moment in Houston, getting held up as the starry group that will bring a championship back to town. Never mind that the franchise hasn’t made it out of the first round since 2009. The Texans are the tired, dead-end team, deemed certain to disappoint.

Maybe, that is the correct narrative.

Just don’t be so sure. Not with Kubiak adding extra belief and McHale bringing in extra doubt.

“I imagine I’ll have a few more goose bumps than I did (starting in Kansas City),” Keenum says of the approaching Sunday night stage. “Obviously, it was a very cool atmosphere last week. But, to play in Houston, to play in Reliant, I know this atmosphere.

“I know what it’s like and I know Sunday night it’s going to be very special.”

Never underestimate the power of coaching in professional sports. This year figures to provide a fascinating case study across two different sports in Houston. Undrafted, disregarded free agent Case Keenum is getting every chance to play to his true potential and rescue the Texans. Undrafted, disregarded free agent Jeremy Lin is getting downgraded even after already more than proving he belongs — he’s being prevented from leading.

Will you really be surprised if both the Texans and the Rockets end up following the lead set by their coaches in the end?

via Case Keenum elevated as Jeremy Lin wrongly deflated: McHale fails – CultureMap Houston.

Jeremy Lin and Beverley, who fits better with the team and James Harden

Recent rotation of our starting PG has all based on fit, and people kept talking about Beverley, as a good PG too, simply fits better with James, therefore, we should start Beverley. 

So, I spend some time and looking into last season’s data, and trying to see how fit Beverley is with the team and with Harden, and how unfit Jeremy is. Here is what I found. 

(All data came from NBA.com, and I just rearranged them into excel sheet for the sake of easy viewing, and some simple calculation with percent shot distribution etc, no weighting, or fancy calculation involved.)

Who fits better with the team:

Okay, first, I looked at the whole team performance with the split of Beverley on/off court and with Jeremy on/off court.



Obviously Jeremy has a bigger sample size compare to Beverley, so I used per 36 min numbers to balance the difference. 

So when we compare the numbers of Jeremy on court vs. Beverley on court, we can see that the whole team had a little better FG% and 3FG% with Jeremy on court. And per 36 min, the team got slightly more points. When Beverley is on court, though 3pt shoot 3FG% is lower, a significant higher 3pt attempt is seen. Other noticable increase is Offensive rebound, which I would say is singlehandedly contributed by Beverley himself.  Not surprisingly, a increase of personal foul is also seen when Beverley in on court.  Also an impressive +/- number, though I’m not completely sure why. Could not get that from the offensive side, must be the infamous defensive contribution from Beverley then. 

Now look at the shot distribution and FG% when Jeremy or Beverley on court.



They are comparable, when Jeremy on court, 10% more of the total shots were from the restricted area, though not shown here, that’s the highest eFG% consider all the shots, thus it better that way than shots them behind the arc. 

Okay, for the whole team, Jeremy on court works better, however, as Morey said multiple times, there is not much drop off when Beverley on court either. 

Who fits better with James Harden

Look at how James performance when he is playing with Beverley and Lin. OMG!!!



If I’m a Lin hater, I will show this and stop here. Acturally that’s a lot of sports writer did, and well received by most Rox fans here too. 

However, let’s look at it a little bit deeper, and let’s breakdown on James stats.



I was totally shocked to see that James had a almost 10% drop in his FG% and a good 7% drop in 3-pt shots when he share the court with Beverley compare to when he was playing together with Jeremy. On the other hand, his FGA, 3FGA, FTA, and personal foul drawed were all significantly increased! Basically a good 30% increase in FGA and a good 75% increase in FTA when he is playing with Beverley vs. when he is sharing court with Jeremy. 

What that means? It means James is working extremely hard when he is sharing court with Beverley with a much lower efficiency. 



And if we break down the James Harden’s shot distribution and shot percentage, and list that side by side with Beverley and Jeremy on court with James. It is even more striking.

Harden shot a good 10% drop of FG% in the restricted area when he is playing with Beverley, but still, that is the highest eFG% shot compare to 3pt shots. But, when James playing together with Beverley, he shot much less in the restrict area, but way more taken behind the arc, so basically he is taking more low percentage shots with lower percentage compare to when he is playing with Lin!

Then why James get more points when he is playing with Beverley than when he is playing with Lin? Because he is taking more shots! per 36, James has almost 20 FGA compare to when he is playing with Lin, which is only 15, of course he would get almost 6pts extra with 5 extra attempts. (6pts with 5 FGA, and I’m not counting increased FTA there yet, talking about efficiency.)

Okay, since I’m a Lin fan, I’m not going to stop just here, let’s look even deeper. 

Beverley “fit” more with Harden at the cost of the team.


So when we look at James’ field goal percentage side by side with the team’s percentage, and split by share court with Beverley or share court with Jeremy, this is what we get.



So when James is sharing court with Jeremy, his FG% in pretty much all the categories is similar if not better than the whole team, and rightfully he was taking totally 25% of the whole team’s shot when he is playing with Jeremy. He has higher above the break 3 FG% than the team, and he took more percentage of the team’s shot there too. 

However, when James is playing together with Beverley, his FG% is significantly lower than the team, especially in the restricted area and in the paint, and yet, he is taking more shots, 31% of the whole team’s shots there. 

So, based on these numbers, can we still say Beverley fits Harden better than Jeremy? I’d say Beverley fits better with Harden’s ego, since obviously, when playing with Beverley, Harden got way more ball in his hand, even he has lower efficiency, he got to shot more and gain much better stats. Whereas play with Jeremy, though Jeremy would set his up, and he would get points easier, but he would have overall lower numbers on the board, since the shots also goes to other teammates on the floor. 

Those people who says James and Jeremy don’t fit should know that last season, for both games James got more than 40pts, Jeremy have more than 20 there too. Both of them could played well together. 

So did Jeremy play better without sharing the court with James? Yes, Jeremy’s FG%, 3FG%, FGA were all dropped when sharing court with James, and thus pts/36 dropped around 4pts too. But to optimize Jeremy’s capability, staggering Jeremy and James playing time could totally reach the goal. 

Plus, even with 84% playing time overlap with James Harden, and with unhealthy start of last season, Jeremy still finished with solid number of 13+6 last season, with improved 3pt shooting and completely healthy, Lin could for sure keep that stat line if not improve it. 

So, why are we talking about benching Lin and start Beverley here? Should we try to improve Lin’s efficiency at cost of James and the teams’ efficiency?

via Jeremy Lin and Beverley, who fits better with the team and James Harden – ClutchFans.

Global joke: Jeremy Lin benching proves Kevin McHale lacks perspective

Kevin McHale seemingly cannot help himself. The Houston Rockets coach will show how little he thinks of Jeremy Lin every opportunity he gets.

The latest is McHale\’s benching of Lin in Manila for the first leg of the Rockets Asia trip and his commitment to a new ridiculous routine of rotating Lin and the unexceptional Patrick Beverley as point guard starters throughout the rest of the preseason. It\’s like McHale is forever fixated on trying to put Jeremy Lin in his place rather than embracing a playmaker with the ability to help Dwight Howard and James Harden win a championship.

Sure, I\’ll start you in Taipei where you\’re a rock star, but only after making my point in Manila.

The New York Knicks would never treat Raymond Felton — a far inferior point guard to Lin — this way. Heck, the Charlotte Bobcats would hesitate to mess with a shaky Kemba Walker like this.

But anything goes with Jeremy Lin — no slight is out of the question. So he\’s suddenly pulled as a starter for the second preseason game of his second season with the Rockets and told to embrace coming off the bench as an interesting lineup change.

Here\’s a news flash for McHale: The Rockets didn\’t sign Chris Paul in the offseason. There\’s no reason to try and marginalize Lin like Omer Asik.

No matter what you think of Lin\’s game, it\’s hard to argue that he hasn\’t proven worthy of being an NBA starter. This isn\’t Tim Tebow. Lin\’s first full NBA season averages of 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game — despite fluctuating minutes — are more than representative of a good NBA starter.

Here\’s a news flash for McHale: The Rockets didn\’t sign Chris Paul in the offseason. There\’s no reason to try and marginalize Lin like Omer Asik.

It\’s not just disrespectful to a young player the Rockets are supposedly committed to, it\’s also stupid for the team.

McHale may justifiably love the idea of a great, game-altering sixth man. After all, the Rockets coach was one of the best sixth men in NBA history early in his own playing career. But McHale might want to remind himself that he\’s not coaching the 1980 Celtics.

These 2013-14 Rockets need Lin on the floor for the start of games — and as much as possible. The offense simply runs better when the ball passes through his hands. The transcendent talents of Harden and Howard shine through more when the basketball is moving.

And please, let\’s not cite the Rockets jumping to a 12-0 lead over a sleeping Indiana Pacers team with Beverley as the starter in Manila as any sort of evidence that the offense is sure to be potent without Lin. The Pacers are already an elite NBA team — one with little to prove in an ultra early October preseason game. Roy Hibbert and the Pacers barely seemed aware a game was going on.

Lin plays well coming off the bench against Indiana, getting into the lane again and again. But he also played well as the starter in the preseason opener.

He\’s clearly worked on his game — and it shows. He\’ll be a better shooter this season, a better passer and an even more confident player.

Doubting Lin

Yo-yoing around his starting role only threatens to erode some of Lin\’s confidence. It\’s hard to see what the real-end game goal is here for McHale and the Rockets. Do they really think Patrick Beverley is a transformative player?

You know it\’s a messed up week in Houston sports when Texans coach Gary Kubiak refuses to bench a faltering, panicky Matt Schaub and McHale refuses to start an improving, renewed Jeremy Lin.

The Rockets need Lin on the floor for the start of games — and as much as possible. The offense simply runs better when the ball passes through his hands.

For all their public protestations and supportive interviews, it\’s becoming harder and harder to buy the notion that McHale and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey really want Jeremy Lin in Houston. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander is the one who hung up on Morey after watching Lin hit that game winner in Toronto during the heights of Linsanity. The owner\’s anger is what drove this redo and free agent signing.

McHale and Morey? They\’re still acting like the duo that cut Lin on Christmas Eve in the first place.

Actions speak louder than words. Jeremy Lin suddenly has to fight for his starting spot. Yeah . . . that\’s real belief.

It\’s hard to imagine Lin still in Houston after his NBA reasonable, three-year, $25 million contract expires after next season. The Rockets might be surprised when they later realize that their best chance at a championship during this Harden-Howard era walked right out the door with Lin. Unless Morey pulls off another miracle and lures Kyrie Irving to town, that\’s exactly what figures to happen.

These Rockets need a good, playmaking point guard to win really big. They happen to have one on their roster. If only they didn\’t refuse to see it.

via Global joke: Jeremy Lin benching proves Kevin McHale lacks perspective – CultureMap Houston.

video highlights: NBA star Jeremy Lin charms Taiwan fans in preseason game

Taipei — Asian-American NBA star Jeremy Lin and teammate James Harden joined hands on Sunday to help the Houston Rockets beat the Indiana Pacers 107-98 in an NBA preseason game held in Taipei, Lin\’s ancestral home.

As a point guard, Lin scored 17 points in his 34-minute play while centre Harden contributed 21 points in a game that drew a sell-out crowd of more than 13,000 fans at the Taipei Arena statidum.

When Lin had to quit just a few minutes before the close of the game, local fans gave him a thundering applause.

\”I\’m happy with the result. After all, we won. Playing (basketball) here is crazy. Fans are noisy and passionate,\” Lin said in Mandarin Chinese at a press conference.

Houston coach Kevin McHale added: \”The atmosphere was unbelievable. Yes, it was definitely Jeremy Lin\’s home court. He played very well.\”

\”The last week to 10 days he?s been very, very good in our games and our practices. I think he?s really comfortable with who he is. He?s in a good state of mind\”, McHale said.

The 25-year-old, whose parents are Taiwanese, has become a sporting hero on the island since he shot to stardom in the NBA with the New York Knicks early last year, sparking a global following known as \”Linsanity\”.

Lin, who was later traded to Houston, had a mixed performance in his first full NBA season that saw the Rockets eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

McHale said he could understand the tremendous pressure on Lin after he swiftly rose to his fame and emerged as the basketball icon in Asia and elsewhere in the world.

\”He is a great young man, he worked out very hard this summer,\” McHale said, in his reference to Lin\’s step-up training, including in shooting where he has sometimes struggled, after his first full-year with NBA.

NBA commissioner David Stern on Saturday hailed Lin\’s success as a \”true milestone\”, saying Lin had been \”adopted by all countries in Asia as their very own\” after the two NBA team\’s successful exhibition game in Manila last week.

At Sunday\’s game, Paul George led the Pacers with 19 points followed by 17 points of George Hill.

Among those watching Sunday\’s game in Taipei were Terry Gou, founder of Taiwan\’s tech giant Hon Hai Precision and Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming, a former Rockets centre.

via AFP: NBA star Jeremy Lin charms Taiwan fans in preseason game.

Lin enthralls fans as Rockets visit Philippines – SFGate

Linsanity is gripping the Philippines.

Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s first American-born player of Taiwanese descent, stole the spotlight Tuesday as the Houston Rockets practiced for the first NBA preseason game in the basketball-obsessed country.

Lin was mobbed by reporters and photographers on a Manila basketball court, a day after the Rockets and Indiana Pacers arrived in the capital for Thursday’s game.

Lin said he was thankful for a chance “to inspire people, especially my fellow Asians.”

\”I\’m excited to play here and in Taiwan,\” he said. \”I think the fans don\’t get a chance to often watch an NBA game live, so hopefully they\’ll really enjoy the experience, and I think we\’re going to definitely enjoy it as well.\”

Lin said he\’s had a taste of the \”electric environment\” of the Philippines, which tops the list of countries outside the U.S. following the NBA on Facebook and Twitter.

Lin said his Taiwanese parents told him good things about the Philippines.

\”I\’m glad to see and feel the warmth they showed to me in person when I got the chance to walk in the mall last night,\” the Palo Alto High alum said. \”Everyone was polite, respectful, and I was really blown away.\”

Last season was Lin\’s first full season in the NBA, and he started all 82 games for Houston. In the previous two seasons, he played less than half-seasons for the New York Knicks and the Warriors.

\”They were different times in my life,\” he said, comparing his stay with the Rockets and Knicks. \”Different stages, different roles, different systems. … I can\’t really compare the two. My goal is just to get better every year.\”

Handling fame and fortune, he said, is a \”constant battle.\”

\”I\’m human. There\’s always that element of pride that I have to fight,\” he said, adding that his Christian faith \”is very integral, not just me being an athlete but as a person.\”

Lin said he\’s trying not to think too much about the pressure to perform as an Asian American in Asia.

\”I think for me, I just want to be as much myself as I can, and then be real and as authentic as I can be and let everything else follow,\” he said.

via Lin enthralls fans as Rockets visit Philippines – SFGate.

Linsanity Movie: Jeremy Lin Documentary Something Every Fan Needs to See

www.LinsanityTheMovie.com

Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of professional athletics. Lin has become a global superstar, despite owning less than 150 games of NBA experience and producing at a less-than-elite level.

Once Linsanity, a documentary about Lin’s life and career, is released, every fan needs to see it because of his amazing story.

Evan Leong directs Linsanity, which is narrated by Daniel Dae Kim of Lost and Hawaii Five-0 fame. It’s been shown at multiple film festivals across the country and has received strong reviews, like this one from Justin Chang of Variety.

It’s rare that an athlete can become such a compelling figure that individuals with no interest in professional sports begin to idolize him.

That’s been the case for Lin, and it’s the primary reason you need to see this film.

Unprecedented Rise

As someone who lived in New York City at the peak of Linsanity, I can offer firsthand experience when it comes to the craze. Not only were Lin jerseys and t-shirts being sold at every sports store across the five boroughs—as the New York Daily Newsillustrated in Feb. of 2012—but he transcended athletics.

It was almost as difficult to find a restaurant without Lin’s face plastered over some sort of promotion as it was for players to defend him.  By comparison, Knicks superstars Carmelo Anthony, who won the scoring title in 2013, and Tyson Chandler, who won the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year award, saw their fame shrink. That’s hardly a slight on Anthony or Chandler, or even Amar’eStoudemire, but it’s the truth.

According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, Lin transitioned from a no-name athlete to being worth $14 million in a span of nine days. That number matched him with Kobe Bryant at the time, bringing him to No. 6 amongst all global athletes.

It’s safe to say that we’ve never seen an individual rise up in such a dramatic fashion.

This type of increase in both financial value and international fame is so unprecedented that it’s worth documenting. Love him or hate him, Linsanity will be remembered as a defining moment in this generation of NBA basketball.

If that’s not intriguing enough, how about a look into the life of a global superstar?

Global Impact

Without looking too far into the blurred lines of race, it’s no secret that there have been a shortage of Asian players in NBA history. The two greatest success stories, however, have been Lin and Yao Ming, who have both built up international fanbases.

The video above will show you just how passionate fans across the world are about Lin. Whether you love him, hate him or feel impartial, what Lin has done for the global expansion of the NBA is worth marveling.

Even if you’re uninterested in the on-court aspect of Lin’s career, there is more to his story than his weeks of greatness with the Knicks. Not only is he a man of faith, but he’s traveled the world to promote the international growth of basketball.

In his travels, there’s certain to be stories that fans of every kind can enjoy and appreciate. If that’s not enough to peak your interest, the movie will also illustrate the battles and injustices that Lin has experienced with race.

Regardless of what reason you choose, Linsanity is must-see material.

via Linsanity Movie: Jeremy Lin Documentary Something Every Fan Needs to See | Bleacher Report.

Jeremy Lin hopes lower profile will aid him in second season with Houston Rockets – ESPN

HOUSTON — Jeremy Lin said he failed in handling the huge expectations that were placed on him following his breakout season with the New York Knicks and hopes a lower profile in his second season with the now star-studded Houston Rockets will help him.

Jeremy Lin said it takes time to learn how to manage expectations.

A year ago, Lin was the focal point when the Rockets opened the season after they signed him away from the Knicks. But he struggled in his first full season as a starting point guard, and the Rockets have traded for James Harden and signed Dwight Howard since Lin’s signing. That has made the team a contender and taken some of the burden off Lin.

“Learning to manage and deal with expectations and which voices to tune out takes time,” Lin said at Rockets media day Friday. “You have to fail at it to get to where you want to get to.”

Lin was frequently critical of his performance last season, when he started all 82 games and averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists a game. He was constantly chasing his five-week run in 2012 in New York and the famed “Linsanity.”

With Howard and Harden, Lin is now more focused on being the role player he ended up becoming when the Rockets made the playoffs last season.

“From a personal standpoint, there’s a lot less pressure this season,” Lin said. “I’ve had such a wide spectrum of literally no expectations to having every expectation. Now it’s kind of going back down to some lower expectations.”

via Jeremy Lin hopes lower profile will aid him in second season with Houston Rockets – ESPN.

Jeremy Lin humble but predicts Houston Rockets will contend – ESPN

Img359561768Though Jeremy Lin conceded he has “a lot of holes” in his own game, the Houston Rockets’ point guard said he believes the free-agent signing of Dwight Howard makes the team a dangerous threat as an NBA championship contender.

Reminded that Hakeem Olajuwon told Fox 26 in Houston the Howard-Lin tandem on offense could be “very deadly” after the former Rockets great worked out both in Colorado, Lin said, “I think our team can be deadly,” in a taped interview to be aired on ESPN Radio’s “The Ian O’Connor Show” on Sunday morning.
“I think Dwight Howard himself is already pretty deadly of a player,” Lin said. “For us, it’s just a matter of getting on the same page and buying into the system, and I think adding [Howard] as a piece to the puzzle, it’s incredible. I think we’re all extremely excited and we know what we have, and he looks healthy, he looks explosive, and he’s looking better and better in terms of recovering from his [back] surgery.”

Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers in July to sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Rockets, which gives the center the ability to opt out of his contract after three seasons. With James Harden an established perimeter star, the Howard acquisition is expected to elevate Houston — a first-round playoff loser to Oklahoma City last year — into the upper tier of Western Conference teams.

“We don’t have the [postseason] experience,” Lin said, “so we’re going to have to make up for that somehow, some way. And we don’t really want to wait around and wait three years down the line to be able to compete for a championship; we want to do that now. … If everything jells together in an ideal situation, I think we can be a championship contender for sure. But that’s a big ‘if,’ and we understand that, and our coaching staff understands that.

“And I think our players right now, we’re all talking about being committed to winning a championship, and being able to sacrifice. I think sacrifice is going to be a big, big word for our team.”

In his workouts with Howard, Lin said he has been surprised by the big man’s touch from the foul line. Howard shot 49 percent from the line in his final season in Orlando and in his one and only season with the Lakers, inspiring some opponents to intentionally foul him.

“One thing that people don’t really see, [Howard] can really shoot free throws,” Lin said. “When we were shooting, he was shooting really, really well. And I think for him it’s just a matter of getting more comfortable in a game. It’s definitely there. Sometimes you’ll see players who might not be able to shoot the free throw that, well, you can understand. … But he can really shoot, and that’s something that really caught me by surprise.”

Undrafted out of Harvard and cut by three teams, including Houston, Lin caught the basketball world by surprise during his brief but wild Linsanity run with the New York Knicks in the middle of the 2011-12 season, when he suddenly became one of the more recognizable athletes in the world.

jeremy-lin-shoppingAfter the Knicks declined to match the three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet Lin received from Houston, he averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists and started all 82 regular-season games before getting hurt against the Thunder. Lin acknowledged that he was burdened by expectations, and that he got down on himself while failing to duplicate Linsanity in Houston. But Olajuwon said Howard’s presence would allow Lin to play pressure-free basketball this year.

“I agree with that, more so now than ever,” Lin said. “The majority of the pressure is leaning on other guys, and it’s going to give me a little bit more space and a little bit more freedom to be able to just be myself, and I think that’s something that I’m looking forward to for sure. For me, I have high expectations for myself, and in no way was I satisfied with my year last year. But the fact that other people think it was a disappointing season to me is somewhat of a compliment that they think I might be able to do more.

“One thing I have to remind myself is I just turned 25 years old, and to be honest I really have only been playing consistent basketball in the NBA for a season and a half, if that, and so I’m very young in my career. And because the expectations of Linsanity are so big and the shadow is so large … sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself the journey has just begun.

“I don’t have as much freedom or the usage rate that I had in New York. I have to learn how to play a little more off the ball, how to cut better, how to shoot better, how to defend better. There are a lot of holes in my game, and I’ll be the first one to admit that. … It’s just a matter of trying to become better and repair and improve. Teams know what my strengths and weaknesses are now, and I don’t have that element of surprise anymore.”via Jeremy Lin humble but predicts Houston Rockets will contend – ESPN.

Videos: Yao Ming’s Top 10 NBA Moments

Thirty-three years ago, a man-child was born in Shanghai, China. Yao Ming, arguably one of the most dominant centers (during his relatively short career), celebrates his birthday today. Though his career ended rather quickly (the stress of being a 7-6 big man took its toll on his feet in particular), he helped change the NBA landscape and opened the NBA to a brand new fanbase in China.

Yes, China loved Jordan and Kobe, but Yao was the first Chinese player to be relevant in the NBA. His career averages may not scream “wow!” (19.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg), but during his 8-year career, Yao Ming was the first (and probably last) of his kind. Will we ever see another 7-6, 310-pounder with a soft shooting touch and above average passing ability in our lifetime?

Jeff Van Gundy, Yao’s former coach, once told Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams the following about Yao: “People are saying he was pretty good. No, he was dominant. He could play. You could make the case he didn’t do it for long enough to be considered an all-time great. But this guy was dominant when he played. In his age group, he was the best center — when healthy.”

With all that considered, it felt necessary to take a look back at some of the best moments of his career in honor of the big man’s birthday.

click here to see the top 10 moments in videos: Dime Magazine (dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers » Blog Archive Yao Ming’s Top 10 NBA Moments.