The Houston Rockets face the Indiana Pacers Wednesday evening. It is Jeremy Lin's and the Rockets interest to get the victory as the Los Angeles Lakers are set to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, a fairly easy opponent. Here's what Lin and the Rockets have to do early on.
The Pacers are a very aggressive and tough basketball team that love to intimidate opponents with their shrewd defensive efforts. However, their defense has the ability of being broken and Lin spells trouble for the Pacers as he's a career 2-1 when leading offenses against Indiana.
The key is ASSISTS.
The Pacers are playing better basketball and their weakness falls right into the area of Lin's specialty, which is about passing. Lin hasn't been taking too many shots as of late as his minutes have been reduced, but this means instead of shooting, he can feed players.
Indiana comes into this game with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games. Either it's a coincidence or it truly plays a key role in how their losses, but when the Pacers were out-assisted in games, the were defeated by their opponent. Here are the results and assists totals in each of their most recent losses.
Heat 105-91 Pacers: Assists- Heat 20/Pacers 14
Lakers 99-93 Pacers: Assists- Lakers 27/Pacers 17
Sixers 98-91 Pacers: Assists- Sixers 28/Pacers 25
Bulls 87-84 Pacers: Assists- Bulls 21/Pacers 13
When teams don't get more assists than the Pacers they end up losing and that's exactly what happened in the recent victories.
The Rockets have the players who can shoot from outside as well as penetrate and play well once in the paint. Lin himself was great breaking down defenses. James Harden also does a great job of penetrating while Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino can make it pour from beyond the arc.
Houston is currently up 2.5 games above the eighth seeded Lakers. It should be of their interest to get a victory tonight. The Rockets are coming off a big win against the San Antonio Spurs. If they play with the same tenacity, then they should be able to add another win to their record and continue to solidify their placement in the NBA Playoffs.
Clinching a playoff spot would be huge for the Rockets since that would allow them to rest their players, but with a close playoff race at the conclusion of the season, it looks like Lin might have to get some extended breathers as the 24-year-old seems to be showing signs of fatigue.