2:08AM EST December 11. 2012 - Jeremy Lin always has been a late bloomer: lightly recruited, undrafted, two years on the bench and in the NBA Development League.
It took a
quarter of a season, but Linsanity has reached Texas. The Houston
Rockets point guard had a season-high 38 points Monday night in a
134-126 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Rockets were without their leading scorer, shooting guard James Harden,
and Lin filled the void as he proved so capable of last season with the
New York Knicks. His previous season-high points total was 21, on Nov.
Lin had been mired in a funk lately, scoring 15 total points in
his previous three games while losing minutes to backup Toney Douglas.
But the expensive free agent busted out without Harden around.
started out slowly, scoring two points in the first quarter, but then
took over in the second and third, scoring 24 of Houston's 66 points in
the high-scoring stanzas.
He finished 11-for-21 from the field,
4-for-5 from three and 12-for-12 from the line and added seven assists,
three rebounds, two blocks and two steals for good measure.
Characteristically, Lin brushed aside his individual contributions.
thankful that I was able to get comfortable out there, but that's
definitely secondary to the fact that we blew another close game," he
It was the breakout performance the Rockets needed from Lin,
whom they invested $25.1 million in over the next three years. Lin
burst onto the scene last February when the injury-plagued Knicks
shuffled him into a starting and starring role, but his career before
his two-month hot streak was full of D-League and DNPs.
was not perfect. Near the end of regulation, with the score tied, he
was ticking down the clock to set up a last shot when Danny Green poked
the ball away from him.
"I had the ball to win it and didn't even get a shot up," Lin said. "That one hurt."
But that hurt can be overcome if this is a sign of things to come.
Lin and Harden, who sat with a sprained ankle, have not always been on
the same page this season. Lin is at his best as an aggressive
playmaker, but Harden is the star of the team and demands the ball.
Harden misses a few games, Lin could find his rhythm. Harden can adjust
to an aggressive point guard; he played with Russell Westbrook on the
Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale said before the game he wanted Lin more involved, with or without Harden.
"We have to find a way to get Jeremy playing with the ball more even playing with James," McHale told the Houston Chronicle. "We've got to make sure he's able to do some things and have some strong side, weak side action where he is involved, anyway."
He was involved Monday. And the result was spectacular. Linsane, even.