The Houston Rockets have lost two consecutive games and maybe it's just a strike of irony, but Jeremy Lin has struggled in these two loses. The question has to be asked, does he have enough left to close out the season and get his Rockets into the playoffs?
The question is relevant because this is the first time that Lin has played this 59 games in his brief career. He's doubled the number of games started in his magical 2012 season. This year, along with James Harden, he's taken charge of the offense in Houston and helped them get at least to the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
From the looks of it, Lin is still capable of running the offense in Lin-like manner. He'll sometimes have huge games where he'll have the hot hand. Most recently, before the two-game losing streak, Lin dropped 29 points on the Oklahoma City Thunder. His legs were fresh following the week layoff due to the All-Star game festivities.
The Rockets needed every single last point Lin gave them that day as the Rockets went on to defeat the Thunder 122-119. However, when analyzing the Rockets' recent wins, there's a trend that depends, not on how many points Lin scores, but how many assists he totals in a game.
Houston is 10-9 in the month of February. In seven of their 10 victories, Lin had at least seven assists. This means, when Lin distributes the ball efficiently, the Rockets are penetrating and getting open and eventually, they are also winning. In only two of their nine loses has Lin totaled more than seven assists.
Wednesday's loss will still go down as a loss, but it's a tough loss. The Rockets should have had that game, but because of Monte Ellis' heroics, the Milwaukee Bucks finished on top. Lin finished that game with seven assists and only 10 points.
The recipe to success appears to be this for the Rockets: give Lin the ball, space the floor and if the open man can make the basket, the future is looking bright in Houston. The more assists he has, the higher the probability the Rockets will win.
The Rockets are currently 31-28 with a 2.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers.