Has Jeremy Lin Proved Himself Enough to Start for the Houston Rockets Again?
By Jean-Paul Salamanca, LatinoPost.com On December 8, 2013
Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard.
The Houston Rockets currently find themselves in quite the comfortable position. Having won eight of their last 10 games, the Rockets are nipping at the heels of the San Antonio Spurs for the lead in the Southwest Division, only two and a half games back from the Spurs.
In a highly-competitive Western Conference with emerging threats in Portland and Denver and perennial mainstays like Oklahoma City and San Antonio, the Rockets are holding their own, and that's not because of luck. First off, their offense has taken off to the top of the charts, the Rockets having the No. 1 scoring team in the league (109.1 points per game). Second, the team has started to show signs that they can play together, always a concern during constant changes that the roster has undergone since the 2011-12 season. Unlike their counterparts in Hollywood, the L.A. Lakers, the acquisition of Dwight Howard has been paying off huge dividends for Houston. Howard has helped the Rockets grab 46.1 rebounds per game, third best in the NBA. And his No. 9-ranked 1.84 blocks has been a big help to a team that is still having trouble containing their opponents on the defensive side (the Rockets allow 110.0 points, second worst in the NBA to Philadelphia's 110.1 points allowed).
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But one key discovery has also helped the Rockets on their path from worst to almost-first: the bench. After Carlos Delfino's exit to Milwaukee, Houston was left with a deficit of talent on their bench that threatened to undermine the potency of their starting five that included Howard, All-Star James Harden and dangerous sharpshooter Chandler Parsons. However, their reserves corps has started to look a lot more potent thanks in part to Aaron Brooks becoming a revelation on offense, solid contributing from Omer Asik (however long he may remain a part of the roster) and sharp shooting from Omri Casspi.
Oh, yeah, and there's this one other guy-Jeremy Lin, one of the best sixth men in the NBA through the month of November.
Currently, Lin is out for the next two weeks thanks to a knee sprain he sustained last week in a game against Atlanta. But before that, Lin, who lost his starting job to Patrick Beverley at the start of the season, was on a tear, scoring 15.3 points, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals; he was also shooting 50.3 percent from the field, including 39.0 percent from three-point range. A few games of those, Lin put together two 30-point games and a 21-point gem-against his old team the New York Knicks-for three games in a row. Lin seemed to find his stride without the glare of the spotlight on him-that burden now shifted to Harden and Howard-and find a way to contribute to the Rockets in an effective and productive way.
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